Trolleybuses on 3rd Avenue

This is an open thread.

70 Replies to “News Roundup: The Next Level”

  1. I was wondering (hoping) if the recent $2B federal loan would be able to speed up Northgate Link. Is there any real chance of seeing service before fall of 2021?

    1. Before Fall? Sure. If they don’t use up the project float, the might easily manage a spring opening like ULink did.

      Our chance at opening years early ended when the Feds turned down our request years back for grants to start Northgate Link early. If we had had the money back then Northgate would have opened in 2018… next year.

    2. So the summary is that funding is the issue to completing Northgate early? My understanding was that the riskiest technical parts of the project finished when the TBM’s completed. 3 1/2 years for station construction is a disappointment, especially when so much work can be done in parallel.

      1. I understand Charles’ point about the missed window of early fed grants (which would have been the best way to speed up the line), but as you mention, Johnny5, three and a half years for the remaining work and station constructions seems longer than it has to be. This is why I had hoped that some additional federal loans could shave some time off the remaining schedule.

      2. The U-link tunnels were complete in May 2012 and the line didn’t open until March 2016, so the schedule for completion is right in line with past experience.

        As to funding, more money won’t help at this point. The constraints are almost entirely in construction sequencing, so throwing more money at the project doesn’t really help. Getting more money years ago would’ve sped up construction by enabling it to start earlier, but once you start digging things only go so fast.

      3. Three and a half years just to complete a station also sounds high to me; I’d love to see their sequencing schedules. By definition the station box is already partially completed before that 3.5 year clock starts as they had to fully excavate and pour the footings and structural slab prior to tunneling. Building a 40-story highrise with 8 levels of below grade structure from putting the first shovel in the ground to opening the doors doesn’t normally take that long, and although they are different beasts to an extent, the station also doesn’t have to deal with the ton of interior work that, say, a condo tower would. The majority of the structure is structural concrete (the box, shafts, stairwells, beams, lid, etc.); every building has electrical, life safety, plumbing, data, HVAC requirements as well. The Northgate station doesn’t even have to deal with below grade issues save the footings. I don’t believe they start testing the system until the stations are complete anyway, so that’s not it. I wish they had explained this in the “answer” to their question instead of just stating that it takes that long.

      4. I think it’s clear from these comments no one bothered to follow the link provided in the post, which explains what work is left to do. It’s not simply building the station.

      5. Subrookie, I read the page. My point was, given the remaining work that was listed, the timeframe still seems long, at least compared to European station construction. I believe Naples’ recent stations were completed significantly quicker.

      6. Thanks, Jason–that’s very useful although a much more macro-level schedule than I was referring to, which would tend to show things down to the week or even day, by subcontractor and sub-task — “south stairwell platform level concrete pour” and the like (and which assuredly would not be accessible to the public as it would typically constantly be in flux). One is a project schedule, the other is a construction sequencing schedule and really only of interest to those of us familiar with them and who would like to know the nitty-gritty of why things take the time they do, and compare to our own knowledge of similar work. There’s likely a great reason specifically why these things take so long–contractors don’t tend to sit around as there’s too much money to be made in getting done and moving along to the next thing–and I’m mildly interested as to what that might be.

        I do note that the actual station construction timeline is closer to 2.5-2.75 years in this document, which makes more sense. Up to a year additional per station is allocated to the bid/negotiation/contract execution phase, which is done or nearly so. The track work and signaling also extends past the dates of station completion – there is nine months in the schedule after completion of the last station for electrification, signaling, and communications; and an additional seven months for testing past that date.

      7. Even if Northgate’s elevated station took a shorter amount of time, you still couldn’t run trains through. The line is always going to take as long as the last station or last thing.

        My issue is that ST now has a certain amount of recent experience under their collective belt, yet the station timelines are comparable. I would think that they would speed up a little with experience. For example, I was constantly reading in the agency progress report that the signaling and communications in ULink was at critical for several months. I would hope that all parties would have figured out what the snafu was and not go through it again.

        OTOH, a speeded up timeline means we can experience a busted escalator at Northgate that much faster. /snark

      8. Construction doesn’t work that way. Yes you learn things, but in general that means you know what pitfalls to avoid next time, so you avoid delays (using schedule float). You still have to pour concrete, test everything, etc. That stuff doesn’t take less time because you did it well 2 years ago.

        The escalators are a good example of something I’ll bet they approach differently next time. But that won’t make installation any faster.

  2. I love the idea of putting Amazon lockers at sounder stations and I hope it expands to other transit centers and other cities. USPS is extremely unreliable in my area and other carriers aren’t much better.

  3. ST buried the lede:

    “Starting this fall, Amtrak Cascades and Amtrak long-distance trains will use the Point Defiance Bypass,”

  4. Yes, TOA predictions can be hard, but telling me how far away a vehicle is is nothing short of meaningless. Fact or not, just providing a distance doesn’t tell me anything. For example, what if the vehicle is stuck in traffic and at a dead stop? Then the estimated arrival time would be infinite regardless of the distance..

    What Portland is doing is meaningless — we shouldn’t copy it.

    Note: TOA info for LR ought to be very doable due to the higher level of reliability, but for buses? That is much more difficult due to the inherent variability in bus performance. I’t move towards TOA info for rail and just stick with the old published schedules for buses. Nobody expects their bus to be on time anyhow.

    1. I enthusiastically disagree. When I’m waiting for the ST 545 or whatever, sometimes it’s on time, and sometimes it’s ten minutes late. I want to know which is which. Did I already miss it? Can I spend five more minutes at my desk a block from the stop before ending work?

      It isn’t precisely reliable, but it’s generally reliable to within a couple minutes, and much better than nothing. What’s more, studies have shown that not having real-time information makes waits feel much longer.

      1. Yes. Jarrett and William C. are correct. Facts over predictions any and every day. CTA has provided real-time GPS location for at least a decade, and seeing a bus on a map is so much more preferable to relying on an algorithm’s estimation. Having both is best, of course.

    2. If distance remains constant while ETA increases then you know the vehicle is stalled. It also gives some indication that the system is actually tracking the vehicle.

      Accurate ETA can be very useful for bus riders particularly if there are multiple lines serving the same stop. I used to ride a line where I frequently had to choose between jumping on a local or waiting for an express. The ETA of the express would let judge whether it was worth waiting.

    3. The software that does the predictions uses the timetable as a lookup point to determine the minutes away. Unfortunately, that means that when things get bad (or, during the past two weeks, the buses had chains and couldn’t go very fast) the system for predicting the minutes away gets really screwed up and produces severely inaccurate results.

      The miles away display isn’t great, but it is vastly better than the software producing inaccurate results because it grabbed numbers from a timetable that has become meaningless.

      In my opinion, there are some good ways to solve this particular issue, but the people who write the software that drive this type of thing never actually use transit and thus don’t see first hand the terrible results their products produce.

      1. There are a lot of ways to solve this problem, but Portland just punted decided to post useless info instead..

        Yes, I know, a person could diligently watch the display and note changes in distance to get an *idea* of what the TOA might be, but lets get serious here. It is a little ridiculous to expect the the end user to note a distance change, then do the math in their heads to get a velocity and then convert that to an estimated TOA.

        The SCADA should have all that info, and a lot more too. Use it, add whatever additional info is available to fine tune it, and publish as a real TOA.

        The other problem with publishing a distance is that it assumes that the end user has some knowledge of what will happen over that distance, and some users simply won’t. A daily user might be aware of choke points and such that will delay the arrival, but an occasional user or tourist won’t.

        Publish TOA, not distance.

      2. Glenn, whether its information or operations, the transit industries have standby’s available that always work. Always something squishy about both word and concept of “software”. Though most of its problems stem form users’ desperate belief it’ll turn wrong input into right output.

        And next time I need to go to Portland, though, I’ll watch the weather reports for snow, and buy Jarret Walker’s pass so we can ride the aerial tramway all night.

        And be on the platform next morning to watch the camera crews interview the tramway operators to remind people that one part of the system has never problems whatever with steep grades and snow. And so, all night, carried every single Tri-Met passenger.

        Happens all the time, and the tramway guys just love the recognition. Another machine that long pre-dated software. Whole concept of Community means credit where it’s due, Jarret.

        https://www.flickr.com/photos/43315334@N07/32030675110/in/dateposted-public/

        Mark Dublin

      3. Sadly, the system doesn’t have “all that info”. It needs the timetable as a reference point. It’s the way the systems available in the USA function.

        Sure, there are many ways to solve that problem. The manufacturers of these systems haven’t offered any of those, however.

        You’ll find that on snow days King County Metro displays will also be wildly inaccurate because the buses get knocked so far off the timetable that the system doesn’t work. Would you rather have the system show you a completely wrong number that is meaningless, or at least give you some idea of the distance away?

        Unfortunately, the way these systems are programmed today, those are the two choices available. TriMet ran with the completely inaccurate model starting in 1998 or so, and switched to the current model about a year ago. This past week this prevented countless people from waiting outside in sub-freezing temperatures in the snow for buses that weren’t coming for a very long time.

    4. By the way, unless it isn’t clear: the display that shows the distances only shows up if the system detects that it is screwed up. At almost all times, the minutes countdown is shown.

      However, if everything has been thrown so far off the timetable that the system is generating error messages and can’t determine an arrival time, it generates the distance away instead. This has been part of TriMet’s display system for at least a year, but it has only been in the last two weeks, with the snow catastrophe, that people seem to have noticed this.

      I know it has been at least a year ago that they have this as a weather incident last year caused a route I take to display the distance away rather than minutes countdown.

      So, what you see displayed in the photo is a rare enough occurrence that most people didn’t even notice that it is a feature.

    5. ETAs are good, but I prefer either having actual distance, or both. NYC has provided RT distance from stop info via SMS for quite a while.

      Also, it’s not obvious but this info is available locally in One Bus Away. If you do “show trip status,” you can see where and when the bus was last reported. It’s great info–i only wish they would make it easier to access.

    6. I’m pretty ignorant about bus real time arrival systems, but as I understand it the vehicle’s position is generally known (via on-board GPS-based system), and that trip’s schedule is known, and based on those two things (and maybe some historical data?) arrival predictions are made and updated frequently (every 30 sec?).

      Do any arrival prediction systems use available traffic data in their algorithms? Is traffic data publicly available in some standard format? Does google charge for their data?

      1. My understanding is that Trimet’s current system (for buses) is tied to the odometer, not GPS. (I believe the trains are via GPS.)

      2. Some of it is GPS based. If the bus goes off route to get around a closure or other obstacle then it disappears completely from the arrivals board for the period that it is off its route.

        It means sometimes it will show the next bus in half an hour, but then suddenly drop to three minutes because the next bus got back onto its route and was rediscovered by the system.

        It’s a side effect of having software developed in cities where people drive everywhere and never have to put up with the results of the systems they have developed for the rest of us to suffer through.

  5. Martin, point of clarification: The machines digging the East Link tunnel under downtown Bellevue using the New Austrian Tunneling Method (NATM) are called Roadheaders. The term TBM is specifically refers to machines like Brenda, Bertha, Pamela, etc. East Link will not employ any TBM’s.

  6. Tim Eyman still going strong is a great example of the old saying: “The only things that go away if you ignore them are your teeth and your spouse.”

    He’s probably licking his chops at seeing the abysmal turnout nationally by the progressive crowd, during the presidential election, thinking that 2017 is the year to hammer through his typically unconstitutional and un-American initiatives. Granted, Washington’s progressive voters bucked national trends in 2016, they still tend to sit out the odd-year elections.

    1. Eyman shops around new initiatives and referendums all the time, but they don’t go anywhere if he doesn’t get sufficient seed donations to kick start fundraising operations.

    2. Could also be evidence that, except for Hilary Clinton, who won by three million votes, progressive forces got whomped because unemployment is still a clear and present danger.

      Economy is still bad enough that emergency shelters for the rest of desperate and sick poor don’t have any room for Tim. Can’t he just stand in the snow at a freeway entrance with a cup and dog and a sandwich sign that says: “I’m Tim Eyman?”

      Or if hardship has left him permanently damaged, people will understand that a bad economy will finally drive people to crowd-sourcing?

      Progressive forces might also start to win elections when, one, they admit that Progressive movement was founded by Republicans of the kind that created Metro Transit, and two, when, after about thirty years, they re-grow enough guts to start calling themselves Liberal.

      And also remind people that Hilary won by three million votes.

      Mark

      1. You are correct in that last statement. Progressives didn’t come out to vote in the three states that normally vote “blue”: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

  7. UW Station escalator report, Wednesday Jan 18 6pm:
    – Southern platform up: closed
    – Southern platform down: stopped
    – Northern long down: closed
    – Southern long up: stopped
    – Northern platform up: closed but running
    – Total: 5 out of 12 escalators out of service, 10 months after station opening.

    If I got a dozen eggs and five of them were broken or rotten, I’d return it to the store.

    Then I got fare-inspected. That bothered me because I didn’t get full value for my fare, so why should I be checked and subject to citation if I forgot to tap or their reader malfunctions. Can I cite ST for not having the escalators working beyond a reasonable failure rate (1 every three months)?

    I was on the surface and both southern escalators weren’t working so I walked around to the northern ones. I would have taken the escalator but there was a crowd there and I thought maybe they’ll all work because they do sometimes. But when I got down to the mezzanine the escalator was closed so we had to walk back to the southern set — backtracking to where I was originally. I went down that escalator and its companion wasn’t working, then I went down the platform escalator and its companion was closed. So that’s excessive maze-walking. The one good thing was on the platform there was a sign facing the center saying the escalator was closed, so you didn’t have to walk around to the escalator to see that.

    1. Amazing…particularly in a new station. In the older stations it’s becoming a problem as well; Monday the 16th at 2pm the Pioneer Square station had the escalator to the south mezzanine from the southbound platform out of order as well as the escalator from the north mezzanine to the street. Fortunately there are at least stairs adjacent and available, unlike say from the platform at Capitol Hill to the south mezzanine, so you could still get out in the direction you wanted to go. Westlake, at least at the entrance under Nordstrom, has had a lot of issues with the escalators recently as well, but again at least there are stairs there as an alternative.

      That’s to say nothing about the ongoing issue at Sea-Tac that we’ve heard the announcement about for a couple of weeks now, where people are directed to take a bus from TIB station… :(

    2. Escalators at CHS and UWS are less than a year old! They shouldn’t be failing at the rate they are. I hope ST can assure us they are being repaired on the supplier’s dime, not the taxpayer’s.

      1. Mike Lindblom answered my question in this afternoon’s Seattle Times. Apparently the warranty on the new escalators was only one year, and that clock started ticking when the escalators were first operational, not when the stations opened. Fixing all the failures falls on taxpayers, unfortunately.

      2. I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me a convincing argument could be made that the escalators were never fully repaired by the manufacturer before the warranty ended. The frequency the escalators break down implies there’s some kind of fundamental fault with them. This fault was discovered before the 1 year period ended right? I mean, people have been complaining about the escalators since at least last summer. How long were the escalators operational before the stations opened?

        I don’t see how a manufacturer can get out of a warranty by delaying proper repairs past the expiration date. From a transit-rider’s perspective, the escalator repairs have been half-assed and ineffective. So if the escalator manufacturer still hasn’t solved the root problem, aren’t they legally required to on their dime even if it’s after 1 year?

        Or at the very least, can ST officially recommend that no other city use KONE for escalators without it being considered defamation?

      3. Apparently this is an issue across most transit systems except for MBTA. Anyone know who MBTA uses?

    3. The response from ST is bull. “escalators break down for a variety of reasons: It could be caused by weather, someone tampering with the machinery, or debris jammed in the moving parts.”

      Is weather a big issue indoors and underground? Is someone tampering with the machinery every day? Clearly there is something defective about these escalators.

      1. Was going to say :www.seattletimes.com/author/mike-lindblom/ But he beat me to it. Probably on twitter too.

        Speaking of which, might be good for Us the Public to start organizing for some action before the ADA either gets eliminated. Or threatened, qualified by staff, retracted, and reinstated until its distraction value wears out. Or a Russian EMP weapon takes out twitter. Or patches all ST switches into the customer information computer.

        Also, large attendance at every Sound Transit Board meeting, with a hundred people all yielding their speaking time to Alex Tsimmerman. Has Transportation Secretary’s nomination cleared yet? If not it’s traditional to appoint a vocal supporter brave enough to face down a whole Board-Room full of Russian gangsters and demand they fix the escalators!

        Seriously, whoever is or isn’t personally responsible, I think the entire transit industry would benefit from an extremely detailed week-long public conference explaining the trouble, and its cure and prevention. Video and also pieces of machinery themselves. Delivered in plain language, but by engineers and technicians, not events staff.

        Because beyond blame and excuses, this is an unparalleled chance for large numbers of citizens to start gaining the level of technical knowledge that every taxpaying passenger needs from here on, to give intelligent instructions to their representatives in charge of transit.

        Most valuable of all, short and long-term, would be to throw the doors open to passengers who’ll be voting age inside of ten years- meaning good time to start prepping for ST-4.

        LINK ride to Monorail ride. Art museum block from a LINK station. Only be sure the kids’ field trip groups don’t get shoved aside by unchaperoned transportation engineers hogging the train windows all the way down to Rainier Beach and going “Wheeeeeeeee!” Let teachers give them detentions if they don’t stop hanging upside down from the hand-hold bars.

        Mark

      2. “The response from ST is bull.”

        It’s at least evasive. Yes, escalators around the world break because of the weather, tampering, things falling and jamming the machinery. But that doesn’t answer the question why these escalators have ten times the problems of TIB or SeaTac or Mt Baker or the DSTT stations or office building escalators or department store escalators. Do people really fall on escalators or drop things into them more often at UW than anywhere else? Or are these escalators just shoddy and fall apart immediately like a 1970s American car?

      3. Hopefully we aren’t hearing much from ST because ST’s attorneys (with construction defect litigation experience) told them to shut up. ST needs to alter future contracts to have a longer warranty period on escalators or insist on some sort of performance bond. Seems like additional redundancy built in to the station design is a necessary compromise too.

    4. Given the discussion about the Northgate extension timeline above (and the subsequent Eastlink, Lynnwood, Redmond and Federal Way projects that begin in the next few years), it may be time for ST to establish a more rigorous period of escalator testing and a more vigorous warranty process on them! Here are some potential ways to do that:

      1. When testing escalators, require that the testing last longer and that warranties are longer. If the tracks need 9 months of testing, the escalators need that too. And who signs on to a one-year warranty for anything costly these days — even cars and refrigerators offer multi-year warranties?
      2. Do testing with people on the escalators, and not merely run them empty. Sponsor events in the stations before opening day, and get the attendees to use them. Wine tasting? Community meeting? Pool tournament? A school’s class field trip project? ST could get creative to devise something to get them used by people before opening day.
      3. Contract all escalators separately, and put the vendors through their paces on performance. Look at repair records of different existing escalators proposed by vendors. Maybe make the escalators design-build-operate-maintain for five years, and if escalators fail the vendor get fined a penalty.
      4. Do change orders NOW on the ST2 stations that have not yet begun construction (some still do not have designs completed) to provide at least one more escalator in every station, so when we have failures they aren’t a significant problem. Even modify some of the current ones to add at least one more escalator, now that ST3 has money allocated for existing station improvements.

      It’s really clear that escalator performance is a MAJOR FAILURE on the part of what otherwise appears to be a good ST construction management process. The problems are so significant that ST should be put on the hot seat to publicly come up with a strategy to prevent the future stations with escalators that will open by 2025 (about 21-24 stations!) from having the problems that the current stations do (7 ST and 4 DSTT stations). With so many more escalators coming on line, the problems today will be several time more significant in just a few years. Imagine the number of complaints being triple from what it is today!

      In sum, note this: We’ll have about 3 times more escalators in Link stations in 9 years than we do today. The time to prevent a bigger problem in the future is NOW!

      1. Yes, that’s why I want STB to do an investigative report and hold ST accountable to making sure this doesn’t happen in the dozens of ST2 and ST3 stations coming up.

        If the trains had problems like the escalators:
        – Train doors wouldn’t work 35% of the time.
        – Trains wouldn’t show up 35% of the time.
        – Travel time would be significantly longer than scheduled 35% of the time.

        Any of these situations would be considered an emergency by ST and it would be spending all day every day fixing them and giving progress announcements to the public. But because the trains are the most fundamental part of ST’s mobility service and the escalators can be seen as optional extras, they don’t get the attention. But entering and exiting a station is not an “optional extra”, it’s an intrinsic part of the mobility service. So when the escalators don’t work it’s almost as bad as when the trains don’t work, and they should get the attention they deserve.

      2. The solution may be switching vendors, spending money to get repairs quickly, coordinating a better inspection schedule with the state, changing the contract criteria, having a rapid-response team on standby, or several of the above. Whatever it is, ST needs to figure it out and do it, and tell the public what it’s doing about it.

    5. My understanding is that there is an international shortage of escalator and elevator mechanics. Maybe one of the community colleges needs to start a program?

    6. They should probably put up some signs telling people they’re not supposed to walk up escalators – because people sure walk up moving escalators a lot. Or maybe the moving ones are safer? They should probably give out fines to people walking up any escalator, just to be consistent.

      1. When they don’t want people to walk on escalators they put a barrier in front of them, which is what I mean when I say “closed”. Half the time ST closes the escalators, the other half they just stop them and leave them open. It seems to be arbitrary which one happens when, but it may have to do with the reason it was stopped. (E.g., if a person fell they have to close it, whereas if it was just an object jamming or it just stopped working, they don’t. I don’t know the exact conditions that require a closure.)

    1. Thanks, FBD.

      Always respected John Talton. But have to say just the opposite for the line of thinking his own link contains. His linked essay’s first point in five is last of what I’ll read of it. Right now resisting temptation to call Elections and see about changing my Presidential vote.

      “We think we’re good at attracting brain power. But we’re not as good as we think we are. And we may start losing it – in both the public and private sectors – if we don’t work harder to land and keep tomorrow’s footloose talent.”

      Frets about how all the “Talented” people, whom society would wither like a weed without, are leaving the workforce, And how Arizona risks becoming too boring a place to attract people with this rare and precious quality. Must be my lack of it that would’ve made my chief worry being in the same state with Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

      Bet me that nobody on the “T-list” can operate, design, or repair anything with a moving part. What a yawn to have to have your Tesla towed to a dull un-vibrant neighborhood when a pot-hole takes off a wheel. Or worry about attracting people with other talents that can save somebody’s leather-seated rear end, but don’t do well on multiple choice tests.

      So next time you hear the word “innovation” as a depletable resource, click on this link:

      http://freakonomics.com/podcast/in-praise-of-maintenance/

      BART was a masterpiece of innovation when it was built. Unfortunate that transit’s demands on machinery, like gravity, heat, wear, and shock have been around so long. And their correction and repair so unchanging. Why would anyone witht waste fifty years of money on anything so uninteresting?

      Same for the Emergency medics removing bodies of passengers who died from inhaling poison fumes when that DC Metro car caught fire. If any of them ever earn the wages to move into same neighborhood, they’d make it so boring all the Talented people will have to move! Good thing that a Market Economy is there to save us.

      BTW, if the Washington State Legislature doesn’t declare every child “gifted” and educated accordingly, quit screwing around and jail them for contempt after a couple of years exercising it. After jail space has been cleared of poor children locked up for contempt of court for skipping school.

      Mark

    2. Good article, and I think does a good job highlighting what made SLU successful. I agree with putting Paul Allen ahead of Amazon, b/c without Vulcan, Amazon wouldn’t have had the easy landing spot in SLU when looking to move out of Beacon Hill.

      That said, #2 is the 800 lbs gorilla. Any city would boom if a tech company decided to show up and hire 25,000 people, good urban design or not. Seattle has a lot going for it, but it’s current economic strength has more to do with Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos deciding to locate their companies in the Seattle area than any bells and whistles of an innovation district. If Phoenix wants to replicate Seattle, it needs to get lucky more than it needs to get smart.

  8. While it’s not an opening day celebration, down here they are gearing up for the 10th Anniversary of the Portland Aerial Tram:
    http://www.gobytram.com/
    and select the “Tram Turns Ten” item. (For some reason they make it impossible to have a dedicated URL for the page about the celebration activities)

    1. Really disappointed, Glenn. Weather says 50 degrees high, 38 low, and just cloudy that day. Bummer. Though six degrees isn’t that much….Think the espresso machine at the hospital was open late.

      ‘Course if this was Seattle, wide range of weathers possible. (“Almost Live” had a weatherman going berserk over ridicule for never getting weather right, and yelling that we were going to have a Solar Tornado! Even had flip chart showing one.)

      Really exciting thing was that a hundred percent of Tri-Met’s moving passengers rode the Tram at least once. Do I recall it was free? Need to go back. Promised I was going to right something. Problem right now is figuring out where geology, soil, street-width and money would put one in Seattle.

      Mark

  9. Does anyone know what’s up with Metro’s passenger operated back doors? When they first appeared on the new trolley, it seemed like 80% of the time they were passenger operated. But now it seems like most of the time the bus drivers just open and close them. I don’t get this. If Metro paid for automatic/passenger operated doors, why do their drivers still operate them?? It’s even more frustrating that this seems to be random, confusing passengers.

  10. Thursday escalator report, Jan 19 6:30pm

    UW station:
    – Southern surface up: closed
    – Northern long down: closed
    – Total: 2 escalators out of 12 closed. (2 didn’t check)

    Capitol Hill station:
    – Southern up: closed
    – Total: 1 out of 6 closed.

    1. 1 out of 6, but of course that one is the only way to get from the platform to the south mezzanine save waiting for the elevator (I walk up to the surface on the south end most evenings and normally get there before the elevator). Extremely frustrating particularly when you board the train at the appropriate location so as to walk right on to the escalator, then find that it’s not working AGAIN and you have to wait two elevators as you’re now at the back of the line.

      I wonder if at UW and Capitol Hill any of the issues are because far more people seem to walk up than at most any other escalator I’ve seen/used in other transit systems (walking on the escalators in the Tube is a bit of an anomaly, for instance). Perhaps that creates unforeseen loads?

      1. Perhaps TfL’s efforts to improve safety and capacity by discouraging walking on the escalators is beginning to bear fruit, but my experience is that walking on escalators is actually pretty common in London. London seems to be the original source of “Stand on the Right” escalator etiquette, and Londoners tend to be pretty demonstrative, even aggressive IME, when people stand on the left. I found this article interesting:

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/22/londoners-break-escalator-rule-standing-only-holborn

    2. Maybe we need “One Escalator Away” to monitor all the escalators and elevators in all stations and keep track of the closure rates. And for those with multiple entrances, it could tell which entrance has a completely open path to the platform or surface.

    1. I advocated for that route for a long time before Metro finally released a long-range plan. It’s weakness was always that more people from both the northeast and the northwest are going to the U-District, and both areas (currently) are low draws. But Roosevelt Station will change that significantly, and the most important thing is that NE 65th Street is now connected to Roosevelt Station.

      Metro’s LRP reroutes the 62 slightly so that instead of crawling around Kirkwood Place and Woodlawn Ave to 72nd and back down to 65th, it stays on 55th to Latona, turns north like the 28, and easton 65th. That’s scheduled for 2025, then by 2040 it would be upgraded to RapidRide. The biggest problem with the 62’s routing (as opposed to its reliability) is the slow middle that frustrates everybody traveling between Fremont and Roosevelt. The 62 provides important new crosstown connections between Sand Point and Greenlake, Roosevelt and Fremont. Fremont to NE 6th is also used. However, t’s not clear that the entire length has to be a single route. But anywhere you split it will hurt trips that cross it. On the other hand, it’s not serving NE 65th to Ballard; thats still difficult. But NW 85th doesn’t address it either because it’s two miles from Market Street and a low-density residential area.

      That could change if the growth on NW 85th cited by the Urbanist appears and there are more unique commercial destinations (not just the chain supe4rmarkets and drugstores that are everywhere). I feel divided on this route; there are advantages and disadvantages. But if you want to push for it, now is the time to do so, and the Urbanist article is a good jump-start. If STB authors support it, that would be another point in its favor. And the route goes right through Councilmember Dembrowski’s area, who is particularly concerned about bus routings. If you can get him on board that would be another boost, especially before the LRP’s final review. The council is planning to vote on the LRP this spring or summer.

  11. I’ve said for years that an inland bypass of the North Sounder (Cascades) route is *essential*. Otherwise you lose railroad service to Vancouver BC.

    There’s only one plausible route. Unfortunately it’s currently occupied by something called the “Burke Gilman Trail”.

    1. And the BGT carries more bikers and peds per day than Sounder/Cascades do. The BGT gets rush-hour traffic like Aurora and 15th Ave NW do, enough that you have to slow down your bike.

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