Prep work for the North Portal vertf the Downtown Bellevue East Link tunnel (Sound Transit Photo)

2017 will be a much quieter year than 2016 for transit in greater Puget Sound. After opening 3 new Link stations in 2016 and nearly doubling ridership, 2017 begins the first of 4-5 years without major service additions. September will bring two more Sounder roundtrips, but that’s about it.

Sound Transit

Though less public facing than station openings, 2017 will be a year of exceptional intensity for Link construction, and for Sound Transit as a whole. Roosevelt and UDistrict Stations will break ground sometime in Q1, South Bellevue and Overlake P&R will close in Q1, the I-90 express lanes will close to cars in Junetwo-way HOV lanes will extend from Seattle to Bellevue, and East Link construction will begin in earnest in South Bellevue, Downtown Bellevue, Bel-Red, and Overlake.

Lynnwood Link should complete its design by the latter half of 2017, in time for a 2018 groundbreaking.  And with a new $54B mandate to extend high capacity transit regionwide, Sound Transit will begin staffing up for ST3 project development.

Originally scheduled for the end of 2016 but apparently delayed, cell and data service should extend throughout the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (DSTT) early this year and Beacon Hill Station in late 2017 (more info tomorrow about this).

Your ST3 taxes will also begin collection, in 3 phases. ST3’s property tax hike begins today ($0.25/$1000 assessed), the 0.8% Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET) begins in March, and the sales tax bump begins in April. Seattle’s new sales tax rate will be 10.1%, and areas within both the Community Transit and Sound Transit service areas will collect 10.4%.


On the Metro side, Routes 3 and 4 will extend to Seattle Pacific University in March, the “Metro Connects” Long Range Plan should be adopted early this year, there are hints of a possible redo of the foregone Eastside ULink restructure, and Night Owl service will get a much-needed revamp in September. The new Night Owl network will do away with the 80-series vestigial loops, add trips on routes 3, 5, 11, 62, 70, 120, 124, C, D, E, and extend Route 124 to SeaTac Airport overnight when Link isn’t running. There will also be the customary restructures in March and September, with unknown changes at this time. In June, Metro and ST will study early results from their mobile ticketing pilot, and likely extend it through 2017.

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT)

Barring new Trump-era shenanigans, the FTA should approve SDOT’s Environmental Assessment for the Center City Connector (CCC), clearing the way for SDOT to receive a $75m grant for the project. 2017 may also be a make-or-break year for the Broadway extension of the First Hill Streetcar. Amid indifference/hostility from local merchants and a lack of any objective mobility benefits, the project is at risk of furlough or cancellation.

New protected bike lanes will be installed on 2nd Avenue from Pike to Denny, and on 7th Avenue from Westlake to Pike. Remaining bike projects await the recommendations of the One Center City plan. One Center City will release near-term recommendations early this year, with long-term commitments penciled in by the end of the year.

A disappointment from the start and hobbled by inadequate capitalization, topography, and (for whatever its merits) by King County’s unique helmet law, Pronto will shut down on March 31. Likely well before March, the City Council will have what looks to be a fairly contentious discussion about funding an electrified reboot with e-bikes from Bewegen. Councilmembers Burgess and Herbold are likely to be the most skeptical, and optics around the issue are politically awkward given Pronto’s rapid failure and subsequent lifeline bailout.

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)

If all continues to go well, Bertha should hole-through at 6th/Harrison in mid-2017.

SR 520 will open the “West Approach Bridge North”, functionally completing construction from the Eastside to Montlake. This will extend HOV/Transit lanes to Montlake, and finally open a usable bike path, but the happiness will be short-lived when the “Rest of the West” construction begins a year later.

2017 will see the completion of Amtrak’s new Tacoma station at Freighthouse Square, the completion of the Point Defiance Bypass, and two new Amtrak Cascades roundtrips between Seattle and Portland, bringing the total to 7 daily roundtrips (including the Coast Starlight). Travel times will decline from a volatile range of 3.25-4 hours to a reliable 3 hours, 20 minutes. The new roundtrips will also be scheduled to allow same-day business travel from both Seattle and Portland, with new trips at roughly 6am and 7pm. Early this year, all trains will get cleaner and more powerful Siemens Charger locomotives.


The November 2017 election will feature campaigns for Mayor, at-large Council Positions 8 (Burgess) and 9 (Gonzalez), and City Attorney. Mayor Murray’s stature is formidable and he is unchallenged thus far. Burgess has already indicated he will not run, setting up a free for all for the seat, with 2015 runner-up Jon Grant as the early frontrunner. Gonzalez has not yet filed for re-election but likely will.

Early this month, all Seattle residents will all receive $100 in ‘Democracy Vouchers’ to be sent to candidates of their choice.

What have we missed, particularly in suburban and rural areas? Let us know in the comments.

86 Replies to “What to Look for in 2017”

  1. “Travel times will decline from a volatile range of 3.25-4 hours to a reliable 3 hours, 20 minutes.”

    Does that schedule include padding time (e.g. if there are no delays, could the train be faster)?

    1. There’ll always be passing – probably a bit reduced once all the construction projects are complete. Over the last few years, I’ve had more than one trip from PDX-SEA in about 3:15, mostly on 508 in the evening. And trips over 4 hours southward on 501 in the morning.

      1. 508 used to be very dependable and a regular cannonball when it was just a SEAPDX run, but now that it begins in EUG it seems to be late more often. ODOT and UP really need to get their acts together and work on the PDXEUG tracks. Hopefully the incoming Amtrak CEO (Wick Moorman, former CEO of Norfolk Southern RR) will be able to persuade UP to be a little more flexible in its relationship with Amtrak.

      2. I regularly see 508 and 507 stopped near the Tacoma Street / Johnson Creek MAX station.

      3. Wick Moorman handled NS very well. He kept peace with the workforce and improved working conditions while at the same time increasing productivity.

        But regardless of his “track cred”, I don’t think that Omaha is going to listen to anyone who uses the word “Amtrak”. If they could get away with it, they’d trash the Sunset and Starlight. Oregon needs to pay Bolt to run hourly service between EUG and PDX. It would carry as many people for 1/5 the cost. There aren’t that many through riders.

      4. ODOT already has decent bus service between the cities, for which (unlike the Washington DOT Amtrak connectors) you can purchase a ticket even if you don’t also have a train reservation on the connecting train.

        The problem is that Interstate 5 between Donald and Tigard can be really awful, as well as the area around the Terwilliger Curves. I took a 6 pm departure from Portland south to Salem that took two hours. The buses that go via the Oregon City station have an easier time of it most of the time, but I-205 can get tangled too and it is longer that way.

        There’s lots of things that could be done to improve things, but I have little hope that they will get done. The insane routing they are proposing for a new passenger only line goes over Ankeny Hill, and is essentially physically impossible without a 10 mile tunnel. To me this proves that they have no actual interest in improving things, but only want to make a showing of wanting to improve things.

    2. I was once told by a conductor that there is 15 minutes of padding in the SEAPDX schedule. I don’t know if the planned new schedule of 3:20 will still include a 15 minute pad, but there are still plenty of potential delays on the route. Both my trips last month still had several delays caused by freight train interference, a late arriving train from Eugene, a broken switch at the Tacoma depot and an unexplained delay leaving Seattle in the morning.

      I believe the tracks between SEAPDX will be Class 5 once the new trips start running. That means that freight trains will be able to run at speeds up to 80mph. So if BNSF is willing, most freight trains will be able to run at the same speed as passenger trains which could reduce freight train interference. Oil trains, however, will still run at lower speeds: 50 mph max/35mph in municipalities with >100k people.

      1. My understanding is minimum travel time will be around 3:05, faster than the current best case scenario of 3:15. The current padding is entirely between the final two stations. Both Vancouver WA-Portland and Tukwila-Seattle are scheduled for 40 minutes, when actual travel time between them is only 15 minutes. So the most common thing you see is a train being ‘late’ at all intermediate stations and then arriving ‘on time’ or ‘early’ at the terminus.

  2. Kitsap Transit is going to launch the fast ferry between Bremerton and Seattle in July, 2017. Crossings should take about half an hour with a focus on commuters. They have some public meetings through January which should provide some more concrete details.

    1. Hmm…would I do well to take the new fast ferry to Bremerton and then take the free ride on the WSF back to Seattle? This assumes that Kitsap Transit and the WSF don’t work out a mutually agreeable fare solution. I wonder how long WSF will put up with that, or if they even care about a few extra foot passengers.

      1. For an extra $2 you will get a fast ride in a comfortable seat and no cattle car experience getting on and off.
        The current fare structure will be $10 from Seattle and $2 from Kitsap.

      2. You answered my question, and I’m glad they came up with what seems to be a fair way to manage the fare issue. Thanks!

    1. The P&R at Overlake TC is closing, but the TC itself is supposed to remain open for bus operations. Expect lots of delays for thru-riders on the 545, as it takes even longer to sqeeze through tighter quarters with loads of other buses. Overlake P&R, which is in a separate location, about a mile away, remains fully open.

      1. Actually, I don’t see why the 545 will be affected. The bus loop isn’t going to be impacted by construction at all, and the P&R has a totally separate entrance.

      2. There will still be a bus loop, but based on the way construction projects usually go, my assumption is that it will be some sort of temporary thing, perhaps shifting around different parts of the site during different phases of construction. If spaces get tighter, and buses lack room to pass each other, things could get ugly (e.g. imagine a 545 waiting five minutes for an MS connector bus to load up and get out of the way so that it can pull up to its stop).

        If Microsoft could move their connector buses out of OTC, in favor of parking lots for various main campus buildings across the street, that would help considerably with the congestion issue.

      3. If I’m remembering the plans correctly, the new construction will be completely on the land currently used by the P&R. Any smaller bus loop would cause really huge problems for the Connectors too, so I think – even if Sound Transit doesn’t care – Microsoft would strongly lobby against it.

      4. Not only would construction impact the connectors, but all of Microsoft’s shuttle system (which is used rather extensively), since the TC is center of operations for it. That being said, I think William is mostly correct.

        From what I see, the major new construction is the new garage, but the whole parcel is being redone. The ground floor of the garage building is where the bus loops will be (separated from the rest of the garage) so the current bus loops will be eliminated. The entrances (bus and car) are no changing so I’m guessing they’ll build the garage, reroute all buses/shuttles to the garage loops, and then finish construction of the other side (office space + ramp to the garage). That would let them keep bus/shuttle access open all the time.

  3. OK here’s what to look forward in 2017:

    Everett Transit: Strategic plan and possibly some Everett TAC drama. Might even get out of the committee and into Everett Transit staff (which I know this blog isn’t into). Also a party of record in the Paine Field Commercial Terminal mitigation, working towards providing service to the proposed terminal. Somehow.

    Community Transit: Strategic plan and working on Seaway Transit Station at Paine Field.

    Skagit Transit: Strategic plan likely (some boardmembers not that supportive) and CAC review of paratransit.

  4. Not a public transit system, but here’s a shout out for Bolt Bus. Makes the trip to Portland quick and easy, and cheap. The last time we took it, a few days ago, the driver let the few seniors in line get on first, which was much appreciated.

    1. The last time I took it, it took 2 hours 45 minutes, all the way to Portland, with no traffic. Sadly, it doesn’t look as though Amtrak will be able to beat this for a long time. Even with the new schedule, it will take 35 minutes on traffic delays on I-5 (which is possible for trips that leave Seattle or Portland in the middle of rush hour) in order for the train to be faster than the bus.

      1. I’ve never been on that stretch of I-5 when there weren’t delays. I don’t know which is worse, Tacoma to Olympia or heading into Portland.

      2. It depends what time you go. I did it as a day trip on a Sunday. Left Seattle at 8 in the morning, left Portland at 7:45 in the evening.

      3. @PhilW,

        You are correct. There is almost always some pretty significant congestion on I-5 along that route. Being able to drive SEA-PDX without traffic somewhere on the route is pretty rare.

        That said, the target for Cascades travel time on that route ought to be something like 2:45. That is about the theoretical best time if you drove and obeyed the posted limit (ha!). Do that reliably on the train DT to DT and you will pretty much always beat driving.

      4. It’s taken me up to 5 hrs to drive between Seattle and Portland. My average though is just over 3 hrs or roughly the same as the new Amtrak schedule. I’d like to see the train consistently beat the cars though.

  5. I thought the point of the city acquiring Pronto was so that they could keep it in operation until they came up with a permanent solution.

      1. I think they’re going to send Lyle Lanley around to every Springfield in America, telling them bike-share is more of a Shelbyville idea, and seeing who bites.

        (Jarrett Walker did his obligatory top-ten most-visited posts of 2016 post recently; many of them were not written in 2016, including one covering the fundamentals of ridership. One of these days we’ll have enough examples out there to really enumerate the fundamentals of bike-share success, too.)

      2. The research is there: along with the recommendations:

        It is all about station density. It is not that different than other forms of public transportation. Once you understand the advantages (i. e. what most people use it for) then it is pretty easy to guess how to improve the system. The research just backs that up.

      3. I mean, it’s not only about station density, just as building a mass-transit network isn’t only about the spacing and of lines and stops. I think the fundamentals will look a lot like those Walker enumerates for transit. Just as in transit, I think we’ll ultimately understand that a lot of the fundamental factors behind usage rates can’t be directly controlled via the system itself.

      4. It is all about station density. It is not that different than other forms of public transportation.

        Well, up to a point……
        [unprintable grumbling about certain light rail systems that have stations 200 feet apart because that’s what the previous bus routes had]

      5. Transit systems are inherently more complicated. You have lines and stops and they work against each other. More stops means it is slower to get from one end of the line to the other. Without stops there is no point. Roads aren’t always where the people are, so making detours (to serve the bulk of the people) makes some sense, but slows down everyone else. Transfers are always a negative (they always take time) but if you build a system that tries to eliminate them you are bound to fail (you will spend way too much money serving way too few people). It is all a balancing act, there are numerous trade-offs along the way; some of them fairly obvious, some of them are not.

        But ride share is fairly simple. Few ride it from one end of town to the other. It is meant for short trips and every trip is point to point. The more points, the better the system. There really is no trade-off, only a question of critical mass. Can you afford to build a system big enough and dense enough to work, or are you going to build something that is simply too small to succeed. Of course there are some places (more densely populated places or places close to transit) that are more likely to work well. Of course there are some routes (e. g. along a bike path) that will get more ridership than you would expect just by looking at a density map. But overall, it pretty much is only about density and adequate coverage. Yes, details matter (don’t put the station someplace stupid) but if you simply blanket an area with stations — lots and lots of stations — you will do fine. Pronto failed — and failed miserably — in that regard.

        There are numerous example. Holy cow, if you are going to cherry pick a trip in this city, how about Capitol Hill to First Hill. It is relatively flat. There are tons of destinations on each end. There is a mass transit station in one spot — sitting in a ridiculously isolated location. So what do they do? Put one — count it, one — station south of Pine and west of Broadway. WTF! Are they trying to fail? Are they completely ignoring all the science? Are they just hoping that someday they will add back in the stations?

        My guess is it is the last one, but that misses the point. Without adequate investment (i. e. adequate stations density and coverage), it was bound to fail

      6. One of the nice things about Biketown down here is that you don’t have to worry quite as much about station density because you can lock the Biketown bikes to anything in the service area and that location then becomes a station of sorts (extra charges and credits for drop off and pick up apply).

        The blue bikes are those that are locked to some object other than a station and waiting for someone who wants a $5 credit to ride them to a station:

        Obviously with the electric boost charger this can’t work in Seattle.

      7. BIKETOWN renewed my faith in bikeshare, the one I first gained trying it in DC. Although its way too expensive.

        I suspect Pronto will be sold to a smaller city like a college town which will get a pretty decent bike share system for pennies on the dollar. The issue here was more the execution (lack of station density and infrastructure), those bikes would be fine in a flatter area.

  6. Great run down. I was going to ask about this the other day (I was wondering what was in store for 2017). It is obvious that 2016 was a huge year in transit, both in terms of what got built (U-Link) and politically (ST3). 2017 has a lot more going on then I thought. The 520 work seems like the big story. Not only is work going to be done, but planning for the Montlake area will continue, if not finalize. How that shakes out is crucial, as it will provides the connection between 520 riders and the UW as well as Link.

    Politically, folks in the greater Lake City area will push for a speedup in plans for the NE 130th station. It is crazy for it to take so long. Not only does this mean years and years of weaker service for the area, but it means Lynnwood to Seattle gets disrupted during construction. I expect a lot of people will be pushing to expedite the station.

    1. I think they could find great success for NE 130th acceleration by pushing the Snohomish boardmembers on possible delays during construction. No doubt they want their electorate to not come marching angrily when their new train is delayed by construction work.

    2. I agree that it is absolutely ridiculous to build the line without the 130th St., then go back and add it later. Even ignoring rider impacts, the construction costs are bound to be more expensive doing it this way.

      One would think there ought to be substantial cost savings, installing the station while the construction crews are already out there, and they can work weekday daytime hours, without disrupting service, since the line hasn’t opened yet. I’m hoping that the ST board can be convinced to get 130th St. Station accelerated to open at the same time as the rest of the line.

    3. I’d hope so. I’m sure ST will grumble that the design phase would be cut short. The advantage of that is ST won’t have time to design a station with Park and Ride loop de loop as with 148th. A simple station like Othello or Rainier Beach with a bus route on 125th/130th would be dreamy enough.

  7. Pierce Transit is also putting forward a really good restructure in 2017:

    “Pierce Transit’s Board of Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of implementing a more efficient routing plan that will deliver on the requested increases in frequency and span of service on many routes. Under the new plan, which will be implemented March 12, 2017, riders will experience more frequent bus service, including 30-minute peak and mid-day service on all urban routes except the Route 13, and more frequent service on many non-urban routes.”

  8. Obviously only relevant for a few on this blog who visit us down here, but the TriMet fare card has been undergoing a pre-beta beta test, with somewhere around 200 TriMet employees.

    TriMet propaganda sheet says overall satisfaction rate was somewhere around 96%: 65% very satisfied, 31% somewhat satisfied and 4% neutral.

    Remaining tests of the accounting system will be conducted through January.

    They are near a design on a retrofit for the MAX TVMs to sell the cards.

    We’ll see if watching everyone else makes the TriMet card any better used than what everyone else has done.

    1. Yeah, well in 2017 Trimet has labor negotiations too.

      Back to the Trimet fare media – I rather like the paper $5 all-day, all-access passes. Easy to validate and slide into your wallet. If the Trimet HOP is ready to accept my beta test by mid-February, I’d be willing to provide a tourist perspective.


      1. There’s a Fred Meyer I have to walk past most every week on my way elsewhere. It is usually during a relatively less busy period, and so I am able to get my paper tickets there very quickly as there isn’t anyone in line at the customer service desk at that hour. I probably get my paper tickets with less accumulated time spent than with the smart phone ticket app, and so that is what I continue to use.

        However, according to the web site, they will start phasing out the paper tickets in 2017.
        The good news is that it has some advantages over the paper tickets. For example, if you ride a second time after your current ticket expires the system is supposed to give you a day pass – so you are then able to ride the rest of the day free. After enough trips in a month, it moves you to a monthly pass and you ride the rest of the month free as if you had a monthly pass.

        There’s a bunch of stuff about how they plan to integrate with Apple Pay and Android Pay and do what sounds like allow use of NFC phones, but of course the system hasn’t been officially released for beta test so I can’t tell how all that is going to work.

        Then, when ORCA II comes out in 2021 or whenever, it will be the next generation after that so Puget Sound will once again be ahead of what is going on down here.

  9. Please check on arterial changes in downtown Bothell and Redmond. How disruptive will the utility relocations for the Center City Connector streetcar on 1st Avenue be? Will the Convention Center expansion into CPS proceed or be delayed? How is the SDOT seawall construction?

  10. I know its a long ways out but how is the new ST3 Westlake Station likely going to tie into the existing station? I assume the other platforms will be deeper and under 6th Avenue, is it likely to be accessed using the existing station like walk down one more level? I’m wondering if they can build it without much disruption and impact to the current station?

    1. All that remains to be seen, but yes from what I’ve heard it’ll likely be another level down and toward the east end of the current platforms. No idea about maintaining operations during that time, but we have nearly a decade to figure it out before groundbreaking.

      1. I’m wondering how you would even tie it into the existing station especially as the eastern end of the station has the clock portal and the mezzanine doesn’t span over there, then the street entry by Nordstrom doesnt allow much for a connection eastward either with it all escalators.

  11. I’d love to see the streetcar extended a few blocks further and just finish off that part of Broadway that is still commercial. My issue is whether they will extend the street section like it is further south, which I assume is likely, and which like many I find terrible. Why not drop the cycle track and have standard bike lanes on both sides between a shared lane for streetcar/bus/motor vehicles and the parking lane (w/ floating transit stops like Dexter or Roosevelt NE). And limit left turns to minimize backups. It would be less impact and a cleaner design. Plus in the future with the streetcar tracks smack in the center of the street, it would be a lot easier to make it a center transitway and make the parking and bike lane into a slow shared motor vehicle/bike lane.

    1. The protected bike lane is the best part of the First Hill streetcar. They should extend that without the streetcar.

      1. I live at Broadway/Roy and agree with Bruce. I’d love to see a PBL and no streetcar.

      2. So, it’s coming up on a year since the FHSC started, so how about an article on just that?
        Cost, riders, expectations, what’s next, problems, bus integration, etc.

      3. Sounds like you guys are half of all 4 people who have used the protected bike lane in its existence :)

      4. So, it’s coming up on a year since the FHSC started, so how about an article on just that?
        Cost, riders, expectations, what’s next, problems, bus integration, etc.

        Yeah, and the FTA data for King County Metro is from 2014:
        and the only City of Seattle data is for the Seattle Center Monorail

        Besides, the FTA data does a really poor division into modes so even if the First Hill line was there you probably wouldn’t be able to figure out what it was separate from South Lake Union.

      5. On streets with lots of business access putting a bike lane between travel lanes and parking sucks, because people are always blocking it with their cars, moving across it without looking, etc. This stuff gets pretty annoying on Dexter even with a relatively small number of businesses. But at least there (or on 9th Ave N, or 12th Ave, or Pine, or Union, where there are more businesses) it’s only annoying — you can go around these cars. That doesn’t work so well when there’s a gap for streetcar tracks running parallel the next lane over! That doesn’t mean a Broadway/Linden/2nd Ave-style two-way cycletrack is the only solution, but the alternatives will take just as much width.

        The opponents to extending the streetcar seem to be mostly opposed to a few things. First, the short-term disruption of having the street torn up (which, in fairness, is not all that short-term relative to the turnover rates of many businesses). Second, the street layout imposed by the cycletrack (they prefer a layout that allows them to block the bike lane for deliveries and drop-offs, which is a non-starter as explained above). Third, for some people, in-lane streetcar stops; I don’t think anyone around here would accept a streetcar that pulled out of traffic.

        So opportunities for compromise maybe aren’t so great. One compromise I’ve heard of from Europe is: make the curbs low enough for a delivery vehicle to easily mount, put the bike lanes at sidewalk level, limit deliveries to off hours, and let delivery vehicles mount the curb and block part of the bike lane to make deliveries. This requires low speed and some cooperation from everyone involved. Probably some major changes in SDOT practice, too.

      6. “The opponents to extending the streetcar seem to be mostly opposed to a few things.”

        There’s the ineffectiveness of the streetcar too. It’s folly to put a streetcar where it doesn’t have its own lanes or signal priority, and Broadway has experienced it firsthand. If it were a great streetcar, the businesses would more likely be for it because it would bring more business. But in this case it seems like throwing good money after bad, and tearing up the street for little benefit.

        I’m surprised to hear people defending the cycletrack, since usually I hear “It caused the streetcar’s problem”, “Nobody uses it”, and “It should have been elsewhere” (like 12th). But now it has gone from being the pariah of Broadway to being the best thing about the streetcar project?

      7. Mike;

        After my own experiences in Portlandia & in Seattle, I’ve gone from liking the Streetcar to down and outright opposition. If you’re going to do rail – don’t tear up a perfectly good street for it, get an electric bus! It’s like BRT creep – streetcar creep just ruins the whole idea of rail.



      8. I moved from Portland several years ago, I live on Capitol Hill. In Portland I biked around very often. Here, I’ve used my bike literally about 4-5 times and most of those times its to go to Alki beach via the Water Taxi. I have a nice PUBLIC bike but it just collects dust and needs its wheels pumped every time i use it. I’ve never used the Broadway cycle track. Certainly I don’t speak for everyone, but there is something about Seattle and bikes, not sure exactly what it is, but its not just the hills. I think its a combination of things, that said, I’m all for bike infrastructure and promoting bikes for transportation, I just don’t want my transit infrastructure built first around bikes and for transit last. I can also say I was a pretty big streetcar fan in Portland and my opinion of them has dwindled too here in Seattle.

        Sometimes I wonder if Seattle is where good urban ideas go to die… streetcar, protected bikelanes, bike share, popup pedestrian plazas, woonerfs, all pretty badly executed here. But then I watch things like this ( and realize on some things we are doing great at. At least we have the public policy and market sector on our side.

      9. I had a bike when I lived in the U-District but I got rid of it when I moved to First Hill because it was a steep hill every direction. When I rode there wasn’t all this bike infrastructure. I’m glad it’s coming in now; I really like the cycletracks and greenways and bus bulbs on Dexter and 2nd Ave and Roosevelt and other places, But I don’t like it when it prevents transit from being first-rate, kike on Broadway and the plans for Eastlake. Madison BRT is putting the cycletrack on Unioin Street; that’s a better model.

        Seattle has always had high ridership per capita. It’s probably because of the narrow north-south orientation and bridges ans waterways; it makes people travel further than they otherwise would and they don’t have the patience to drive through bridge bottlenecks. Plus the environmentalist history, which goes back to the Indians. “Badly executed” is unfortunately commonplace. That and the lack of public/government will to just do things the way they’ve succeeded elsewhere. That comes from people’s prejudices against northeastern cities, “We don’t want to be as dense as New York or Chicago, we don’t want bike lanes and bus lanes slowing our cars down, we don’t want to put cars last like Paris, we don’t want row houses like Boston, that’s almost as bad as apartments, etc”. Many people have never seen those places; they just imagine people are packed like sardines and going crazy.

        But we are going forward, even if in fits and starts. We compare ourselves unfavorably with the top five cities that have a quantum level better infrastructure and walkability. But we forget that 90% of the country is not like that. The best of the rest of the country is like San Diego and San Jose and it goes downhill from there. No neighborhoods l;ke the U-District or Broadway or 45th, no trains to them, no 15-minute buses at noon, no buses at 10pm, six-lane arterials every mile, wide streets and setbacks, etc. And now Uber’s starting to replace the buses that exist and leaving the poor behind. Compared to that, we are doing something right.

        By the way, my favorite bike trip was, from the northern U-District, Ravenna Blve, north Greenlake, N 73rd St, 32nd Abe NW, down the Golden Gardens switchback, along the shore, 15th Ave W, Dravus St, a parking lot, the Pier 90 trail, downtown waterfront, Alki. Coming back on 4th Ave S with a stop at Costco, 4th Ave downtown and Eastlake.

        The only place I felt unsafe on a bike was 4th Avenue downtown where the cars were just so thick around you. I always wished there were a better way to get through downtown. The 2nd Avenue cycletrack must be it.

  12. One item under the Washington State DOT that wasn’t mentioned, and a bit more semi-transit than the highway projects:

    The Chimacum is expected to be doing sea trials in early 2017 and will apparently replace an older vessel on the Seattle – Bremerton route.

    I’m guessing that the Hiyu will finally be retired as even as a backup vessel it doesn’t really fit with what is needed anywhere on the routes.

      1. I’m guessing he meant Hyak. The Hiyu was nowhere big enough to handle the Bremerton route.

  13. How about an update on Tacoma Link to the Hilltop? ST’s website has squat on schedule.

  14. Tacoma has an open-seat mayoral race, and three other open seats on the Council. Councilmember Victoria Woodards is the frontrunner for Mayor.

  15. I am most curious about the BNSF negotiations that should be happening right now. I am anxious for night and weekend Sounder service which could come sooner rather than later. No need to wait for the 3rd set of tracks for late nights and weekends. Although those should also be coming along and could help add more rush hour trips this year and next. It is a little frustrating that we voted on ST3 without any assurances of what improvements Sounder would get and when… And now we still don’t know much of anything because of “negotiations”.

  16. Issaquah is doing a complete review of the zoning around Central Issaquah. Could be interesting given they now know a Link station fully funded for that neighborhood.

    Won’t the alignment for the KDM extension be finalized this year? The EIS is out for public comment, so I assume it will be final soon and they will move into design?

    1. Yes, it’s basically a done deal. SR 99 to SR 509 Extension to I-5, with a short deviation west to 30th Ave S for the KDM station. The project will open all 3 stations at once in 2024.

    2. They said the EIS was finished earlier this year but then there was some other formality to do. So it’s either final of just ready to be signed off. I-5 is the way for you. But the KDM station is the best and most urban alternative, a block east of 99. at 236th & 30th. Going west from the station there’s an existing driveway to 99, and a non-crossing west to 28th which is the northern edge of the college. So it all comes down to what kind of pedestrian path they put there., and a bridge over 99 may be a good idea.

      I’m concerned about how the buses from Kent will get there, because there’s no left turn from KDM Road to 30th, and they’d have to rebuild the interchange to put one in. So buses might have to come down 99 and turn at the aforementioned 236th, where there’s no turn and the road doesn’t go through (it’s a Jiffy Lube parking lot). Or if they don’t add either of those turns, buses would have to go all the way down to 240th and backtrack, and 30th is two narrow lanes and single-family there. So we’ll have top watch the station design and access.

    3. Here’s the EIS. The public comment period ended December 19th. “The Board is expected to select the project to be built as early as January 2017.”

      Appendix F, Preferred Alternative, part 2, page 9 has a map of KDM Station. It’s on the west side of 30thcentered on 236th. A new 236th street crosses 99. RapidRide statiojns are north ansd south of it. There are four Metro bus bays, one ST bus bay, two Metro layovers, and one ST layover. Kiss-n-ride is on 30th, and P&R is on the east side of 30th. So ST will be taking out the blocks from 234th to 238th (Jiffy Lube and neighbors).

  17. Locally, Auburn will see a mayoral race and several council races. In the 31st Legislative District, we will see a special election for State Senator Pam Roach’s vacated seat and, potentially, for a vacated House seat if one of the State Representatives fill the Senate vacancy.

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