42 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Circle of Life”

  1. I am sitting at the Montlake freeway station right now, again a victim of Metro’s abysmally bad system of alerting about significant closures. Unacceptable. And how many years will the new 520 bridge have to be open before it’s actually open? Jeez.

    1. The I-5/WA520 interchange and the entire Montlake area looks to be under construction until 2028. The Montlake land bridge will be open in 2023. The new Montlake draw bridge by 2027. And the new connection to I-5 by 2028.


      I’m reminded of the Tacoma Narrows. They opened the new bridge in 2007, but ten years later they are still doing a huge amount of work on the I5/WA16 interchange. The realignment should be complete by 2020.

      We rightfully look at the timeline of ST3 with some shock at how long construction of our light rail system is going to take. But, things aren’t really better on the highway side. These massive construction projects take years.

      1. What’s the story with the new Montlake Bridge, is it northbound only? If we are going to have a second bridge it needs bus lanes.

        It would also be nice if northbound Montlake Blvd was rerouted to the Eastside of UW Station, so that the station was in the middle of Montlake Blvd, straggling both directions and allowing much easier bus transfer.

      2. Sports-world tragedy, fletch3. Tacoma Narrows team gave it such a good try. But nobody in the world will ever beat the record of Tacoma I-5.

        Probably funded exclusively by endorsements from the oil industry and every worldwide enemy of the American people. Watch the museums carefully and oil millionaires’ collections carefully. ISIS probably gives away complimentary oil with every purchase of stolen antiquities.

        Truth probably worse. I think it was Kurt Vonnegut who discovered an alien civilization powered by being able to burn time for energy. Until they finally ran out of…well, depleted it. So universe-wide, Tacoma is the new Riyadh. Only consolation- wasted time will no longer be dumped into padded transit schedules.


      3. @poncho – the 2nd montlake bridge hasn’t been decided yet. it’s up to the city. Could be ped/bike only, could be transit, could be cars or a mix.

    2. In this case, I think it’s safest to get the bridge closure alerts directly from WSDOT, rather than going through Metro. You can subscribe to bridge closure alerts on the project web page.

      1. Yeah but Metro should clearly echo major closures like that on the website, like they do with the I-90 closure for the Blue Angels. You should not have to tell a normal person to make sure to check the WSDOT closures if they are taking a bus across a bridge. And especially if it’s a major crossing like the 520 bridge, they need to have a huge banner on the website like “520 BRIDGE CLOSED!!” or something, and at the very least, have that banner right on the 255 schedule.

      1. Good idea, Frank. Get a lot of use out of list of how far behind schedule all the “Express” buses are running. Got a “drawer” everything on that subject.

        But come on! It’s only common decency and transit practice since the horse-drawn days to give the public large signs to read. Yeah, but the majority of the population just watched what the nobility got on and crawled into the baggage bin, or painted themselves black and white and climbed up in the undercarriage with the other coach dogs.

        Forgotten equipment back before motors digested instead of combusted fuel: it wasn’t just fire departments. Since anything pulled by running animals would always get attacked by packs of stray and often rabid dogs, coaches carried their own pack who would hit the mud running interference. They weren’t nice doggies, either. 101 of them wouldn’t have left enough of you to be a gram of dog food.

        Bike-riders could definitely use terriers. Those little critters are fierce! Would probably not only work on other cyclists, but over-aggressive motorists would find their tires not only ripped open, but wet. Meantime, transit, just put up the signs and the message on the broken-elevator boards. Except mostly, just post the message when the elevator gets fixed.


  2. I liked the way ST did this a few years ago. Greatest thing was that regular passengers really got into this too. Dilemma: while four car trains will carry more audience, we’ll have to get every musical group aboard at UW to avoid being excluded by non-musical crush load.

    My special seat-free luggage and bicycle cars also too small. But: since musicians don’t have to get on and off – well, maybe one cab can be temporarily converted to a toilet- orchestra car can remain in the tunnel. If show-biz starts to rule, however, might be really good incentive for walk-through trains.

    But, my favorite part was right at the beginning, where with the band’s first riff outside the train station with ST offices, every pigeon south of Yesler disappeared in a giant graceful cloud of feathers. Still waiting to see if the system will bring the same band out to Tukwila International.

    Will finally relieve the Audubon Society from roosting in the rafters themselves to prevent maintenance crews from selling all the birds to Colonel Sanders. Who I hope isn’t Bernie wearing a fake beard. But transit history has a humane solution. Every elevated station around the whole Downtown Chicago “loop” had at least one peanut machine.

    Station spacing created a day-long “musical fly” for a sky-blackening, platform-whitening thundercloud the whole length of the line. Since our stations are wider-spaced- and machine maintenance is probably already contracted to elevator firm- we’ll just have to use digital “clicks”. Along with peanut-delay apologies, wrong information, and “Fly Downstairs And Take Rapid Ride” in….can’t say what kind of English.


  3. Can we get a post about last night’s SeaTac station closure? What’s the deal with that? Did the port want to limit the number of protesters at the airport?

      1. I think that the article in question is extremely inflammatory and misleading, nowhere near a “darkest hour” for Sound Transit.

        It is completely valid to condemn the Port of Seattle and the Port of Seattle Police (which answer to the Port of Seattle Commission, not the City of SeaTac or King County, and certainly not the City of Seattle*). Certainly Sound Transit might want to have better procedures to vet requests to close stations from law enforcement, but I don’t think it’s a mistake or a culture problem for a transit agency to comply with a request from law enforcement. Leave Sound Transit alone.

        Ultimately, responsibility for this debacle is with the publicly elected Port of Seattle Commission, not that anyone knows who they are.

        *though judging by how many people were confusing the jurisdictions involved, perhaps we ought to have Seattle annex Seatac and take over the Port so people won’t confuse who to hold responsible.

      2. Calvin,

        I agree that the Port of Seattle are the “guilty” party here and the ones who need to provide answers. Personally, I’m guessing ST operations received a request to shut down the station with minimal specifics. If a government agency asks for immediate shutdown of a station, then without a direct counter-order from the board or CEO, the person running operations at ST is going to shut it down.

        But, as I said, I think there needs to be an investigation into the port of Seattle’s role in this and how they handled the protests. That’s something that won’t happen overnight though.

        In the meantime, does anyone know who we can write to at the Port of Seattle to express our…displeasure…with the way this was handled? I’m guessing the commissioners would be a good start?

      3. Yeah, I feel like with Sound Transit last night, there is a rush to blame the first person that people think of (Peter Rogoff) out of pure outrage. There is plenty of legitimate outrage to be had under Trump, but I think (especially in Seattle) we are looking for a local person to blame and attack on behalf of Trump’s actions (before we have any details), and isn’t that just bigotry itself?

        Here’s what I gather: Law enforcement ordered Sound Transit to stop service SeaTac Airport station, and Sound Transit complied. For all ST knew, they could have been trying to catch an active shooter and prevent him from escaping on a train. What is Sound Transit supposed to do??

      4. Now that I think about it, my guess is that it probably wasn’t a call from Port of Seattle Police to ST but a call to Metro, since I believe ST contracts out Link operations to Metro?

      5. Alek the ST statement clearly says that the police requested, not ordered, the stoppage. And says ST reversed it on their own, after “determining it was a peaceful protest.” I think they got to the right place, but maybe 30-60 minutes too late. It sounds like they need and will have better procedures. And that is the police ask them to stop trains, they can and must ask”why?” instead of blindly agreeing.

        If anything, I wish ST had been flexible and responsive enough to run additional trains later into the night. Or even those route 97s if the train was infeasible.

      6. Police: “Stop the trains!”
        2 mins later:
        Sound Transit: “Why?”
        Police types out a response, takes 8 mins.
        Potential shooter (which it could have been, for all Sound Transit knew) is already on a northbound train beyond Tukwila intl blvd station.

      7. Really? What’s the two minutes and the 8 minutes? In your scenario, someone doesn’t pick up a phone about this, in which case the why takes 10 seconds.

        Beyond that, as I understand, this wasn’t stop a particular train, it was stop service to a station, which doesn’t really fit with your scenario.

        And in reality what needs to happen is ST develops a policy of “we will stop for these reasons, but not these.” Police presumably limit their requests based on that, and if they abuse that or lie about their reasons, you deal with that as a separate issue.

      8. Same thing happened at JFK, the AirTrain was ordered closed by someone (Port Police?) and Cuomo then ordered it reopened.

      9. “this wasn’t stop a particular train, it was stop service to a station”
        What are you talking about? If a potential shooter is at SeaTac Airport station, then yes, you need to stop service to the *station* to stop him from getting on a *train*. But that was a hypothetical scenario (but well within the bounds of possibility) to illustrate what could have been. I don’t have any details, and neither did Sound Transit. All ST knew is that the police told them to not serve Airport station and they complied. The blame should go 100% on the police and 0% on Sound Transit. I don’t know why everyone is blaming ST when it’s the police that messed up. ST just complied. When a cop wrongly pulls someone over, you don’t blame the person being pulled over for complying, you blame the cop.

    1. This must have been national a TSA thing. They closed the Portland MAX station during the JFK airport protests too. There have been more people waving signs at PDX during celebrity athlete arrivals and departures.

    2. ST defiantly needs needs to have a better process for stopping service at the request of law enforcment. There’s a difference between the south half of platform x is a crime scene or on fire and what happened at SeaTac last night. One case needs to be handled by the best judgment of whomever is running the ST operations center while the second might need to be escalated to ST leadership.

      1. Yeah and it’s real damn sad Sound Transit Security got called about Alex Tsimerman being held accountable for his bullying by a troll named Joe, but when the pedal hits the metal Sound Transit Ops choked. I’ll give Peter Rogoff and Dow Constantine credit for restoring Sound Transit values.

    3. Nice job Stranger, way to jump to conclusions and blame the wrong party. This was the Port police, not Sound Transit decision. The newspapers in this city are such garbage, you have the right wing Times and the far left Stranger.

      1. The Stranger writer Charles Mudede, who wrote the first SlOG post about the Link shutdown, is a bit of an idiot and I never take anything he writes seriously if I even bother to read it. I assume the publisher keeps him around for sentimental reasons. He’s been in Seattle long enough to understand the various overlapping government agencies and his tweets/article just showcased his ignorance.

        I have been seeing lots of other outrage online from folks that don’t seem understand that the Port of Seattle, Sound Transit, and the municipal governments of various suburbs are independant governmental agencies not subordinates of Seattle’s Mayor

  4. I’m just taking bets how long until #FireRogoff becomes a thing…. not saying we should go down that road, but I’m getting there.

    For what it’s worth: It’s time to put Peter Rogoff on a very short leash and let Dow Constantine hold it.

      1. Three major scandals:

        1) Abigaileak or the improper handing of ORCA e-mail lists to a political campaign. Yeah, that got sorta fixed but I’m hearing reports that the campaign kept abusing the list.

        2) Stupid, callous, shallow comments about 405 tolls now being used to fundamentally change Sound Transit

        3) Last night and the staff just stopping light rail makes me nervous.

        We can’t fire CEOs to fire CEOs. But it’s time the line was drawn in the mud. Peter, clean your house. Get Abigail Doerr to apologize for 1 and keep Sound Transit at arm’s length from Transportation Choices. Quit making shallow comments about how wonderful it is to be insulated from direct voter accountability – speaks directly to the DeeCee swamp. Always remember as The Sounder said, “We are paying $54 billion not to get dicked around like this. Democracy, Sound Transit, is your function, and nothing but democracy brought you into existence. Tonight was your darkest hour.”

      2. C’mon, Joe, you like Dow. Think about what all is on the other end of the leash! I envision a giant hundred-generations inbred Irish Setter that got into his master’s (I think it was Sherlock Holmes!) cocaine pills.

        Also remember Mrs. Clinton’s ill-advised leash reference. Whether it rips off your ankle or just waters your pant-leg (or nylons) there are just some things you don’t want to bring to heel.


      3. The main issues are whether Sound Transit keeps the projects going, operations running most of the time, and its track record of on time/on budget good like recent projects. I would add design decisions that have led to a substandard network but most of that was before Rogoff or outside his control. One questionable stoppage on one day, or one campaign mistake, does not rise nearly to the level of firing the CEO, or even thinking about that.

        The biggest problem Rogoff should be concerned about now is the escalators, because that is an ongoing problem with a major impact and is the CEO’s responsibility. But even that is not a matter of firing but of getting the board and CEO to prioritize it and tell the public non-evasively and non-weasely what the problems are, why the UW escalators perform so much worse than Link’s other escalators, what it’s doing to decisively fix them, what it’s doing to make sure future stations don’t have the same breakdowns, and if they’re going to take a long time to completely fix, how long and what are the bottlenecks? And if some parts are secret because of litigation, tell us that. Rogoff told us that the Sounder improvement details and budget are vague because they’re in negotiations with BNSF, so I don’t ask further about Sounder details. But they haven’t done anything like that about the escalators, they’ve just said, “Escalators break down for a variety of reasons, and some of them require inspection.” Yes, but that doesn’t explain why these brand-new elevators break down several times more often than the older escalators.

      4. Firing Rogoff seems like a major overreaction, and I’m hardly convinced that this was ST’s “darkest hour.” I just think we need to get a post that lays out all the facts on what exactly happened, who made the decisions, etc.

      5. “Firing Rogoff” seems like a completely backwards, upside-down, which-version-of-the-facts are you looking at response, tbh.

        Sure, hold people responsible for their actions. Holding them responsible for the actions of some unknown person at an entirely different agency seems a bit off the wall.

      6. OK folks, I’m going to put this to bed.

        1) I’m happy to know I’m overly pessimistic of the group, not the other way around on this one. Keep Peter around, but draw a line in the mud.

        The scandals stop now. Thanks.

        2) I mostly agree with QARider, “Firing Rogoff seems like a major overreaction… I just think we need to get a post that lays out all the facts on what exactly happened, who made the decisions, etc.”

      7. Firing somebody can ruin their life. They may never be able to get a good job again if employers refuse to hire anybody who’s been fired, and if they have a mortgage they may not be able pay it and it’ll go into foreclosure and they’ll be homeless. So firing shouldn’t be used disproportionately to the problem, or because of a one-time mistake. For the same reason I disagree with “fireable offenses” or summary dismissals.

      8. @Mike Orr While I think talk of firing reactionary and I agree, firing someone can make getting their next job difficult, I feel like pointing out that the CEO might have trouble getting a job is a little like old school royalty, where peasants can be slain in mass, but killing nobles needs special justification. I’ve been in jobs that fired workers left and right. If an employee fails to perform, firing is what is done in capitalism. It is only fair and only economical if CEOs can be fired too

    1. I’d think a call to do something about the last minute One Center City proposal should be a good justification for someone to be forced to resign or fired. Leaders knew this problem was coming for several years, and chose to wait until now to put an imperfect solution on the street — only about 22 months before it must be fully operational..

  5. Waiting for details of events at Sea-Tac, but I think they’ll mainly fill blanks on a standard report form. But meantime, accounting office has fast countermeasure.

    Shift required funds from multi-casualty wrongful death legal defense to emergency passenger information and assistance. And pocket the savings for bullet-trains on all three LINK corridors.


      1. I think I found it on the Port of Seattle site, but it’s not terribly helpful.


        6.1 Emergency Response and/or Emergency Services
        The following documents serve as the governing documents for emergency
        response and emergency service protocol in the priority listed below as it relates to
        the Airport Station and the pedestrian bridge crossing International Boulevard:
        a. The Sound Transit Central Link System Security and Emergency
        Preparedness Plan.
        b. Link Light Rail Standard Operating Procedures.
        c. Port Resolution No. 3559.
        d. Airport Operations/Standard Operating Guidelines.
        e. Sea-Tac Airport Emergency Plan.

        7. SECURITY
        Sound Transit, the Port and the City of SeaTac have executed a Memorandum of
        Understanding between the City of SeaTac, Port of Seattle, and Sound Transit for Police
        and Security Services, which will serve as the governing document for security at the
        Airport Station

  6. Point I’m trying to make is that this is not a matter of which agency is responsible for what on paper.

    All the pertinent personnel in every agency involved should be assigned a place in a chain of communication, and response. Ready at a moment’s notice with crew trained to get into action without thinking about it. And as few separate radio systems as possible, meaning one.

    Airport blockage? Train drivers and supervisors should have called in about the numbers starting at UW station. So police could have been in formation to guide the crowd in motion. Including to jail for slashed seats and littering.

    Have read that in England, where football fans (different game and much more dangerous, game and players) were divided by team so nobody saw a different color jersey ’til they were out of flying-broken bottle range of transit.

    With all screens visible to one official, with experience and authority to give orders obeyed by everybody in a uniform. Except Manchester United. Except for their coaches and referees, held back ’til the K9 squad needed creatures allowed to bite people. Signal to move in?

    “Ullo, ullo, ullo, and what ‘ave we ‘ere?”


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