Seattle in Transit

This is an open thread.

69 Replies to “News Roundup: Losing Their Minds”

  1. Rainier article: “Four-lane streets are designed to operate like rural highways with relatively few turning movements. But the Rainier Valley is not farmland. It’s a destination-packed corridor through the heart of many business districts and neighborhoods. That means many people are trying to make turns, and every time someone puts their blinker on and comes to a stop, traffic behind them slows or stops.”

    That’s interesting. I thought the reason 23rd and other streets were four lanes was that 1950s planners were anticipating a higher volume of cars than we have due to their “drive everywhere” vision, or they oveestimated how many lanes would be needed to avoid congestion. But if the real reason is that they descended from rural highways where turning was less common (because there were fewer cross-streets or houses) then it makes more sense that they may have been appropriate then but are obsolete now.

    1. You have to remember that many of Seattle’s legacy arterial streets are actually decomissioned state highways from the pre-freeway days, built for rural traffic to access a much smaller city core. Rainier, portions of Madison and 23rd, many others.

    2. It is possible that they designed it as best they could for cars and simply lacked the expertise to consider whether four lanes are roughly as good as three. It is also possible that they figured they would simply ban left turns (as they did on Denny) if traffic ever got too heavy. Moving cars was the first priority, and they didn’t consider any harm in setting aside as many lanes as possible.

  2. Bought a used Nissan Leaf for $9k last year. The valuation calculation says it is worth $24k based on new MSRP of $37k. People are losing their minds because of the perceived unfairness; published calculators by ST3 and Seattle Times did not show the methodology. MSRP and the depreciation schedule do not reflect nuances between cars; my example above shows that EV owners (and other cars with quick depreciation or short lives) are penalized, while other cars are not. If people have to own one car, this formula only rewards owning cheaper, older cars with combustion engines.

    1. The valuation is screwed up, but it was screwed up long before sound transit came into the picture. The old MVET that everyone paid before I-695 was calcuated the exact same way.

      I do feel your pain. My family shares 1 car and one motorcycle – a domestic economy car from 2004, and a single-cylinder motorcycle from 2011. In real world value, I could sell my economy car for more than the original, undepreciated MSRP of my bike. But on my tab bill, guess which one gets the higher valuation?

      1. Since transit got wrecked by this exact same tactic, and the State came down with a financial disease, by now we should know what to do about it, and fast. Starting with fixing the problem ASAP. If we can’t. ST-3 won’t be the last public thing destroyed over this issue.

        I also think there are a lot of people who will accept being presented with an accurate balance sheet showing what ST-3 is going to save them. If they don’t use transit (which they might be able to do under ST-3), should be possible to show how many cars will be out of their way.

        But whatever is or isn’t possible, this one could be certain death for ignoring.


  3. The Tribune article is inconsistent about whether the state bill would allow jurisdictions to secede from the ST district or merely opt out of ST3 taxes. Sometimes it seems to say one and then the other. But the two are very different things. Opting out of ST3 taxes would require reevaluating the ST3 projects and budget. Seceding from the district would have more far-reaching consequences that haven’t been fully examined yet.

    1. I read a comment elsewhere that posited that allowing jurisdictions to opt their residents out of paying Sound Transit district taxes but remaining in the district would violate the WA constitution. Something about taxes in an area, like a taxing district, having to be uniform across the district imposing the tax.

      It seemed like a decent argument to me but does anyone here know if it is?

      1. A taxing district can only impose uniform tax rates across the district. It’s a common law requirement.

        Technically, the Legislature could create a ST3 RTA that is different in extent from the ST2 RTA. So an opt-out community could remain in the ST2 RTA but not the ST3 RTA. But that’s new legislation and almost surely a new ballot measure for the reduced ST3 RTA.

        Much more complex than the simplistic opt-out the talk-radio jocks are talking about. And it wouldn’t address the fact that there are already issued ST3 bonds.

    2. That’s the doctrine that prevents different tax rates in different subareas, because it violates “equal taxation” within a tax district. I hadn’t thought that it would also apply to cities opting out of the ST3 tax, but your’re right, it’s the same problem, so why didn’t the legislators realize this?

    3. There are currently two bills that allow a local jurisdiction (city or county) to opt out of ST related taxes. SB
      5817 allows a jurisdiction to opt out of any ST taxes passed after Jan. 1, 2015 while SB 5854 allows a jurisdiction to opt out of ST property taxes (property taxes are currently only collected as part of ST3). They would continue to pay Sound Move and ST2 taxes.

      1. Which is still unequal taxation across the Sound Transit district so I don’t think that’s legal under our Constitution.

        I mean, I get that people are experiencing sticker shock but it is also frustrating to have agitated for this for two years and had so many discussions on this and now, after the voters have spoken, we’re expected to have to keep campaigning to keep the thing that the voters of Sound Transit passed.

      2. It was always going to be an ongoing issue with a 25-year plan, because the naysayers weren’t going to stop. There are some people who will just say “The voters have spoken” and move on, and there are others who think their part of the district isn’t getting enough or they still want to try to get out of the taxes or repeal it.

        Also with a 25-year plan, in twenty years there will be a new generation of residents, politicians, and boardmembers, and they may want to modify what their parents decided, or the demographics and trip patterns may turn out differently than expected and they want to make corrections. I think the ST3 timeline implicitly anticipates this by putting the least important projects in the least-dense areas last. That way if future taxpayers decide to modify them that’s their right, or if they don’t it will confirm that the projects were the right ones.

      3. It’s interesting what the complaints are and aren’t. The complaints reported in the media are the tax amount, and the lack of large projects in their immediate vecinity. There’s no complaint about the projects that are in ST3. For instance, some transit fans say the Link extension to Tacoma is the wrong technology or project, or that it will cost a lot for few riders relative to other segments, but you don’t hear the refuseniks saying that.

        Opposition to the tax amount is a simple number-based complaint, but opposition saying there should have been more projects in exurban areas is a sign of the persistent denial attitude in the exurbs. Denial that they’re receiving a disproportionate subsidy from everyone else, because their roads and water lines are longer and they use more energy per capita and create more pollution and carbon emissions, and any transit line they receive will benefit fewer people. If we’re just going by a per-capita investment and where the greatest congestion is and commerce benefits are, we’d put most of the service in the city and inner-ring suburbs. That’s why Seattle and Tacoma and Bellevue and Lynnwood get more service than Puyallup or Orting. One can argue that the exact urban proportion should be slightly lower (although it should be higher given the unmet needs), but one can’t argue that Orting deserves an entire bus route or rail line. Perhaps we could give it a bus route anyway for coverage reasons, but not an expensive one.

      4. I certainly understand why people in the southern end of Pierce County’s portion of the district are unhappy about being included. The equivalent areas in King county are outside of the district.

      5. We’ve often wondered why Pierce County has so much exurban land in the district when King and Snohomish Counties don’t. I assume Pierce County wanted it that way to justify growth there and get services there. And maybe it was envisioning a conurbation between Tacoma and JBLM. But these no votes and tax opposition may be the negative corollary of that.

  4. With the FH Streetcar down and shadow bus service in peak hours, we now have the perfect “experiment” to compare bus vs. streetcar on the same route. (And the bus gets to make the 12th Ave shortcut we wish the streetcar could.) No 14th Ave detour, no train getting stuck behind a parked car over the safety line. But, a less smooth ride, and an otherwise less-desirable ‘bus ride’ compared to a ‘train ride’.
    Riders, let us know how it goes.

    1. But the bus is peak-only, and less frequent, so it’s not a perfect comparison.

      1. I’m confused — what bus route are you two talking about? The only buses that seem even remotely similar are the 9 and 60, neither of which go downtown (or are that frequent)

        If Metro did decide to run a new bus while the streetcar gets fixed, it would be interesting. That would be similar to when Link is down. I can’t think of any bus route that suffered the same fate (even ones with trolley wire) so I don’t know if there is precedent. I’ve certainly seen diesel buses follow a trolley wire route, but not for days on end. My guess is if they do run a regular bus, it will go to all of the stops, even though it would be great to skip the 14th Avenue stop.

  5. The Seattle Times witch hunt on this ST valuation thing is awash with histrionics. If there was some sort of bait-and-switch that happened, that would be one thing — but the costs were clearly laid out in front of the voters, without deception. Sound Transit is using this method because that’s the tool the legislature has bestowed upon them, so if there is a problem, the Times should be taking their grievances to Olympia. I guess the Seattle Times hating on Sound Transit is as seasonal (and predictable) as the cherry blossoms in the UW Quad.

    1. Are you sure the costs were laid out before the voting? Voters had a chance to see the tax table that showed their old car valued by the market at $5,000 would be taxed as if it were valued at $12,000?

      1. All the links were there for voters to follow, with clear directions.

        The hardest work for any voter was to find out your vehicle’s MSRP.

        However, for us old timers, I don’t remember how it was calculated pre-Initiative 695.

        Just that it was Washington state’s version of a ‘progressive’ income tax.

        I have vague memories of these same complaints back then.(didn’t match what was paid for the vehicle)

  6. So, I’ve been commuting southward instead of northward for a full 2 months now, and I have to ask… is there any reason that Pierce Transit vehicles all seem to smell like wet dog?

    Is it something different about the maintenance or cleaning regimen? Or the upholstery they use? Interestingly, it doesn’t extend to the routes they operate for Sound Transit, but does extend to Tacoma Link (which I am prepared to stop criticizing, now that I have seen the comical peak time bus conditions on Pacific).

    I’ve been riding Metro so long that I’ve gotten totally desensitized to their particular brand of stink, so this came as totally unexpected when I started encountering it.

  7. I think this whole secession/rebellion thing is GREAT. Think what it would mean if the Pierce County seceded. There would be no reason to run Sounder south of Auburn allowing the current fleet to make maybe half again as many runs and greatly reducing the cost of the triple tracking left to complete. Link could be truncated at Federal Way, saving about three and a half billion (mostly wasted) dollars. It does mean that the Great Gray Elephant of Lakewood® would be even emptier than it is today, but them’s the breaks.

    If it does happen, Sound Transit and King County Metro should adopt a policy at all King/Snohoco Park and Rides that they may only be used by county residents. To enforce that, a window sticker to be mailed only to an address within the Sound Transit service area would have to be affixed to the vehicle or it would incur a $25 parking ticket. It wouldn’t cost much to have parking enforcement visit each lot once a day between 9 and 3; one officer could cover all of the south end ones and another all the Snohomish/North King lots.

    Let’s play hardball with the Mayberry Machiavellis.

    1. not “county residents” but “vehicles owned by residents of the Sound Transit, King County Metro or Community Transit service area, depending on the ownership of the lot”.

      Whew, that’s a mouthful!

    2. We’re a long way from confirming the entire Pierce subarea wants to secede. Tacoma voted for ST3 and earlier Pierce Transit measures, and I think Lakewood did too. It’s an urban/exurban divide that Sounder happens to pass through because of the historic rail corridor. Certainly the mayor of Tacoma wants both Sounder and Link, and many of Tacoma’s residents seem to feel likewise. The idea of jurisdictions option out was that only exurban ones would likely do so, namely Sumner, Puyallup, Bonney Lake, Orting, Spanaway, and those areas. If the entire Pierce subarea were to leave, that would be something different. Although it would make it simpler in many ways, since ST has already has a list of which services benefit Pierce and it could simply eliminate those.

      But Pierce’s participation in ST is what fulfills its transit responsibilities under the Growth Management Act. It couldn’t get away with having no regional transit plan, so what’s the alternative if not ST? Of course, some of the same legislators are also trying to repeal or weaken the GMA, so that would allow unlimited sprawl without transit if that succeeds.

      1. Sumner and Puyallup are both likely keen on their current Sounder service and future ST3 projects (basically parking & more service). I’d be very surprised if they left.

    3. allowing the current fleet to make maybe half again as many runs

      That’s not how it works. In the case of Sounder the constraint is the equipment or crew but the actual slots on the track which have to be leased from BNSF. Any new run will require buying a new slot from BNSF.

    4. ST erred in not providing more projects in Pierce County. Now we have a pretty serious problem there: voters think ST3 sucks, they voted against it, they resent taxes, their legislators feel the need to respond to that. It’s a potential death spiral. I don’t know what ST can do to address it, but something has to be done and fast.

      1. How could ST have provided more projects in Pierce County? It used the maximum budget amount available to the subarea. Going beyond that would have required a larger ST3 package, which would have made these people’s MVET taxes even higher.

        In any case, the prevailing indications are that the opt-out bills are dead and unconstitutional. The same as bills in previous legislatures that sought to make ST pay for residential parking permits or to eliminate the toll lanes on 405. Every year only a fraction of the proposed bills pass, and the most egregious ones tend to be weeded out., Something could happen to ST with future bills but it would be something different.

      2. As someone who lives in Tacoma:

        Knowing more details about Sounder improvements may help.

        Tacoma Link is going to take too long.

        Central Link will end at TDS. It really should go into Downtown and Stadium. But most people who live in those neighborhoods already support ST3.

        I would guess a lot of the opposition in Pierce County is just people who want nothing to do with “the city” nor pay anymore taxes, period.

      3. Let’s see how the Puyallup folks feel when Sounder starts passing them by, without bothering to stop at their station. If they really want to opt out, that’s what they’re going to get.

      4. Or, just increase the fares and parking lot prices for out of district riders.

      5. Oh, that would have to be done anyway. Otherwise, the Sumner/Puyallup people would just drive to Kent or Auburn and take up the (still-in-district) people’s parking spaces.

      6. >> How could ST have provided more projects in Pierce County?

        More bus service, less light rail. It is hard to say how that would have gone over, of course. Tacoma did vote in favor of ST3, and had the backing of the elected officials. So switching to more bus service might have gained some votes in some areas, but lost them in Tacoma.

      7. Tacoma Do-o-o-ome!
        They give us those nice bright colors
        They give us thew greens of summers
        So mama don’t take my Tacoma Dome awa-a-a-y!

        Sung to the tune of Kodachrome. Also a Muppets music video.

    5. Don’t burn the urban residents of Tacoma, Lakewood, and Puyallup because of the actions of some loudmouth jackasses in South Hill, Graham, Bonney Lake, and Sumner.

    1. “GOP legislators have long sought to block planning and funding for light rail projects, saying they put metro-area priorities above rural Minnesota.”


      1. Best counter-weapon to barrage of legislative efforts to destroy public transit? Start proving to their money-stressed constituents that the rich urban liberalism their politicians incite them to hate has a world more to offer them do their legislators.

        Some work moved to Aberdeen or Hoquiam might not appear to “pencil out” on a Seattle area balance sheet. Except for replacement of enemies by friends in the State Legislature. Heavy dose of black ink. Another reason to replace “Progressive” in political conversation with term “Liberal.” And live up to it.

        By dictionary and usage, “liberal” means “generous.” As we can afford to be. “Conservative” means “careful”. As every comment or testimony to the Washington State Legislature should conclude. And contrast.

        Luckily, transit has an iconic figure in History. The late Paul Weyrich, who published the New Electric Railway Journal probably though King Louis XVI deserved to get beheaded for being a Communist.

        Lifelong he stubbornly maintained that streetcars and their cross country cousins the Interurbans, would give better transit for the money than anything heavy rail. Since he hailed from Racine Wisconsin, his BART consists from St. Louis Car Company would still be on rails, instead of breaking them.

        He definitely did not like Bus Rapid Transit.

        Read wikipedia carefully. The man did some things that would make average Olympia transit opponent go hunting for Earth Shoes. But his most memorable call was for an Inquisition against right wing lies about transit.
        Because NO ONE expects the Spanish Inquisition! Least of all Tim Sheldon.

        Mark Dublin

      2. Aberdeen has lots of pre-WWII housing and storefront stock for anyone who wants a traditional town environment. The wide highway couplet through the middle detracts from it though. There are buses to Olympia, peak and a few midday and Saturday.

  8. Sounds like the Bellevue tunnel will have a rectangular cross-section with pretty good overhead clearance. That’s a good thing, because if Mercer Island or some other deus ex machina succeeds in derailing (that’s a pun….) East Link, buses — maybe even multi-section ETB’s — can use it to whizz through downtown Bellevue.

    1. I’m very skeptical that anywhere near a majority on Mercer Island would vote to completely lose access to a fast traffic free regional transit system. They’re looking to have their own way during a very limited phase of the project.

      I started driving transit for Metro just as this region decided to start its light rail system with dual-power buses. Test-driving the Tunnel fleet on I-90, with the poles lying on the roof, often wished there were catenary overhead. Really would’ve been a kick and a half to power out IDS without dropping poles.

      Considering power and reliability of the electric motors over the diesels, still think it would’ve been awesome to drive, let alone ride. Engineers told me forty miles an hour probably max.
      But whatever the propulsion, main problem with buses versus rail is following distance between buses. Meaning empty air that should be carrying passengers.

      Soviet Union’s fleets coupled buses now and again. Doubt the ones in the pics carried express signs. Trouble with trying to couple standard buses is that they’re not structured out lengthwise to pull each other. I think our mechanics and overhead engineers would’ve had a great time visiting those systems. Learning a lot of fast, durable, and economic repairs.

      Still wonder if our own dual-power approach could have some use in dealing with Mercer Island. Those Tunnel buses really did keep suburbanites paying tor the DSTT for years before they’d get Train #1. And nobody’s bailed yet.

      If we could keep the 550 in the Tunnel ’til Eastlink arrives, Mercer Island might settle for very short headway Tunnel rides. May yet for surface service, given good bus lanes. But could be persuasive argument for see if Convention Center could give us a work-around. Worth a lot to put an end to the posturing. Our whole State legislature’s in contempt. Doesn’t the Law have enough to do, without having to write itself?


    2. I really doubt anyone can stop ST2 projects. They are way too far along. It is unlikely that ST3 projects will be stopped either. It would probably take a big failure (say, big cost overruns) along with another ballot initiative (i. e. a repeal of ST3 in whole or in part). The odds are very much against it. Sound Transit light rail survived their first fiasco and built rail from downtown to (almost) the airport even though the plan was to build it to the UW. There were efforts to shift money to bus service, but that failed. Since then ST has been very conservative with their estimates, and comfortable throwing sub-projects (like First Hill) overboard at the first sign of choppy seas.

      The only local agency that had anything like that happen was the monorail, which had no record of doing anything, and no support from local elected officials (or expertise with projects of that size).

      Anyway, as a big fan of bus tunnels, I don’t see that stretch as being that good for one. The ideal place for a bus tunnel is with a strong trunk and branch system on both ends. That is exactly what exists in downtown Seattle (it is the trunk) which made it a great choice for the bus tunnel (and would make it a great choice for another one). I don’t see that at all for the Bellevue bus tunnel. If you rejected a rail project, and built a bus based project, you would simply leverage the freeways (build additional bus only ramps and lanes) not build a tunnel.

      1. Ross,

        I don’t agree about the uselessness of the Bellevue Tunnel for buses. Even if East Link is blocked for some unforeseen circumstance, running multi-section ETB’s bi-directionally in the express lanes could be a fall-back. Having them exit at Bellevue Way and run up 112th would make just as much sense as running Link that way.

        They’d have a hard time in downtown and without East Link the north end service would be seriously imbalanced with the south end; there would have to be turnbacks. But the truth is, it is remotely possible that the sliding tracks won’t work.

        Of course, the good news is that Lake Washington is maintained at a very stable level, so it’s probably moot.

  9. The reason people are losing their minds about the ST3 car tabs is that the media is generating the story to attack ST, but there hasn’t been a response. Or, the response is a dismissive “well tough, it’s in state law, it can’t be changed.” That’s a poor response and I think we’ve seen now how that approach has failed.

    The campaign to support ST3 did not end on Election Day. It will not end until every line promised in ST3 is built. So we need to think about this in campaign terms. ST and its supporters – us – need to reinforce to people that 1) the MVET is the most progressive revenue source we have in the ST3 package, and 2) paying that is how we build the rail we need to get out of traffic nightmares like we saw this week.

    Also, pushing back *hard* against any Democrat who sides with Republicans on attacks on ST is also critical. Democrats need to know that it is not acceptable to express frustration with ST by voting for bad bills.

    1. I’m sorry, but I have to agree with the media on the stupidity of vehicle valuations. If you’re going to tax people on the value of something, you need to have it be an accurate value. Whether that’s your income, the value of your house, or what you paid at the store. How happy would you be if you went to a store to buy something, saw the price was $20, but then got taxed on $30 because that’s what the state thought it was worth? Or if you lost your job this year and had less income, but the state said “We’re going to tax on you 80% of last year’s income because your income shouldn’t have gone down that much?”

      The MVET is fine, but the valuation needs to be accurate (especially because valuing cars is a straightforward process). ST should have realized that people wouldn’t be happy about seeing a tax bill for $20k when they paid $15k for their car. Increase the tax rate if need be, but tax a realistic value, not an arbitrary one.

    1. Censorship about things unfavorable to the leaders, oh no!

      “It doesn’t change the results of ST3. ST3 couldn’t be dismantled as a result of this bill. Instead, it’s an attempt to make sure the voters have a say in how their money is spent”

      The voters did have a say three months ago.

      “and that King County transit activists don’t get more money than they should.”

      Subarea equity takes care of that.

      Senator Palumbo: “to paint it as me being anti-transit, or as wanting to roll back ST3 is patently false. I come from New York where there are real mass transit options, unlike the Seattle area. I am an open advocate for large new investments in infrastructure, far beyond what we have done in the Connecting Washington package and ST3.”

      Where is his plan to do that then? How is he trying to convince his fellow legislators to move more toward that position? How long should we wait for such a plan to be approved and built?

      I really don’t understand how he can be a full ST3 supporter yet simultaneously propose structures that would at minimum chip away at it, or even if they keep ST3 intact they would hinder ST4 or make it impossible.

    1. Point of usage, Jim. At least in movies about the pre-Civil War South, Clark Gable would’ve pronounced it SUH!.

      And for the honor of transit and everything Jason Rantz isn’t, since I don’t think duel-starting gloves can be closed-carried in Seattle, Martin is required to whack him across the face with a copy of Seattle Times and challenge him to a public debate on anything.

      Since Martin does not belong to any helpless group weaker and with less power than Jason, he’ll be left standing in a dignified pose watching a howling yellow streak disappear in the direction of the Mason Dixon Line.

      Not the one with the green buses. The other one, without the Dixon part.

      Mark Dublin

  10. In light of the grand debate over an elected ST board, let’s play “What if.” If ST3 were still up for debate would the Ballard to UW been chosen over Ballard to downtown? Remember, the one time ST polled options, Ballard to UW beat all the other Ballard alignments (only losing in the poll to West Seattle, which had only one option as opposed to ST putting multiple Ballard options). Given that SDOT’s proposal might have been tarnished by Ron Kubly’s, um, issues, would the Ballard through interbay option prevailed over Ballard to UW?

    1. Who would be on the board? If Joe’s ideal came to pass and transit experts were the board’s majority, then Ballard-UW might be preferred. If the anti-tax, anti-transit, nimbys’ ideal comes to pass and they’re the board’s majority, then they wouldn’t care one way or the other about the N-S or E-W alignment. The nimbys would be glad Ballard-UW is underground away from their houses and parking spaces. The anti-tax, anti-transit activists would reject both projects. They might consent to put a more frequent bus on 45th. If the engineering and construction firms’ ideal comes to pass and they’re the board majority, they’d only care which contract was bigger. Except to the extent that the engineering and construction firms really do have transit experts on their staff who are symathetic to the most effective (most Walkeresque) network. So that could be a way to get more transit-expert influence on the board.

      1. Another fun hypothetical– does W. Seattle light rail bite the dust from an elected board?

      2. And don’t assume the NIBMY’ists would be so pro-tunnel either. The construction can still disrupt parking and car movement around the stations, as is happening today in the U-district. They might also freak out about how light rail would explode their property taxes by improving their property values.

      3. >> Another fun hypothetical– does W. Seattle light rail bite the dust from an elected board?

        Highly likely, but again, it really depends on the board. If the board somehow compromised on a smaller package, then West Seattle rail (and a lot of the suburban rail) would be the first to go. They might just ignore West Seattle, but since a bus tunnel would be much cheaper, it would be a logical compromise. Ballard to UW is also more likely, because it is cheaper than Ballard to downtown.

        But obviously the board could have been made up of people just like the current board. The focus on longer distance rail (which always looks great on paper) is a definite possibility. In other words, it might have resulted in exactly the same result.

        The big difference is that each candidate would have to explain their philosophy. So someone like Maggie Fimia (bus only advocate) would likely run on that platform. She would get follow up questions, such as whether she would support a compromise that involved more rail in the city (in the appropriate places) as well as more bus service in the suburbs. Her answer would determine my vote. The correct answer, in my book, is that she would look at the various proposals, and ask for lots of studies to see if it is the best value, using models and a formula applied in the past for federal backed programs. To me, that is the big missing piece with all of this — no one on the board can point to studies that suggest the option they chose was the most cost effective, or even that they studied obvious alternatives (such as a bus tunnel or a Metro 8 subway). The board was focused on the spine, and other long distance lines. Quantity over quality, so to speak. It is quite possible a new board would do the same thing, but at least we could ask them questions about that, and vote based on their answers.

  11. There’s an awful lot of missing information and analysis from the Rainier Avenue rechannelization project that should be examined before it’s safe to say the project “worked”. There’s no information about accident date on adjacent or alternative routes. Yes, collisions are down on Rainier, but what has happened on MLK, Beacon, Seward Park Ave S or on the neighborhood streets? Are there now fewer collisions in Rainier Valley or have the collision just relocated to other nearby streets?

    I didn’t see any mention of whether or not the rechannelization project has affected transit ridership. One of the goals was to maintain transit ridership, but there isn’t any data to measure success in the report.

    Also, there is now significantly less auto traffic on Rainier Avenue, but my quick calculations show that the fewer cars driving on Rainier are now more likely to be in a collision (since the rechannelization). Prior to the project, south of Alaska Street, the average number of cars per day was 21,600 with an average of 95 collisions per year (95/21600=.0044). Since the project there are an average of 15,732 cars with 80 collisions (80/15732=.0051). Yes, there are fewer cars on Rainier Avenue but those cars are colliding at a higher rate since the changes. Thankfully those collisions seem to be less devastating than before.

  12. here is the letter I sent to my King county council representative, please write and tell them to oppose the sale of Convention place property

    Larry Gossett,

    I oppose the sale of the Convention Place property under ordinance 2017-0094 because of the early termination of bus access to the DSTT, the loss of the only direct access ramp to the I-5 express lanes for transit and because the terms of the sale agreement are not beneficial to Metro KC transit. The initial costs associated with the sale of the property will be more than the initial payments resulting in a net expense for transit, and the payments to Metro will not increase until 2024, meanwhile the WSCC gets a sweet deal, paying only 1% interest payments in this initial period. This property is one of the most valuable properties that the county owns and while it may make sense to sell the property in the near future, after buses are no longer using the DSTT, this deal does not make sense for Metro and for people who use transit to get in and out of downtown Seattle. It is not a good deal and I would hope that you and other council members would be willing to vote against it.

    Thanks for your consideration

  13. Sean, if I still lived in Ballard, I’d call out my city and council members, and my Mayor and County Executive, for crippling my transit system in the years it’s needed most. In a doomed effort to surpass the energetic metropolis which its Convention Center has left Bremerton. Itself a lifeless imitation of Flint, Michigan.

    But there’s nothing funny about this one. Completion date for the Center will nowhere near justify the damage that’ll result from two standing-load routes losing their grade-separated right of way through Downtown Seattle.

    I don’t think a change of construction schedule will do the project anywhere as much damage as putting two major standing-load routes to a very crowded surface. Forcing the 41 and the 550 onto surface streets will have same result as making streetcars out of University LINK.

    Since my two sponsors Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy don’t come to conventions anymore, I’ve let my Sons of the Desert membership lapse. But I think attendees forced to run around with a lamp shade on their head blowing on party favors and squirting their colleagues with seltzer bottles will choose a venue with a well-functioning subway system.


  14. Denny looks particularly bad this evening… just checked OneBusAway six 8 buses roughly a minute apart, some almost an hour late

    1. At least on Denny, you can always get out and walk. Some of the other corridors, the distances are too far, and you don’t have that option.

  15. Some of the things I’ve been saying about the end of joint operations in the DSTT are probably coming across as contradictory.Truth is I’m not at all conflicted over the event. But I’d like to explain my thinking clearly as possible.

    1. Absolute first preference: LINK and bus routes 41 and 550 run joint operations until LINK builds out to where the buses are no longer needed. Insisting that Tunnel will finally be operated so that buses and trains will never get in each others’ way.

    Massively improved signalling, communication, and above all, training and indoctrination for all personnel. All DSTT vehicles really should be their own division.

    2. Will settle for keeping only the 41 and the 550 in the DSTT through 2018, again with above improvements. And then running them through Downtown, absolutely given transit-only lanes and signal control, preferably on Third Avenue.

    3. But based on years of past experience, I think the worst possible course of action will probably be the most likely. Namely that joint rail and bus operations will continue the course commenced in 2005. Not being run, but pretty much allowed to happen. Leading up to a two word final speech next year. “Good. Riddance.”

    I’ve got no regrets. Joint operations were always intended to be temporary. And the project has given the transit industry experience and insights that’ll be priceless for the future that, locally, has just gotten started. Both for what to do, and the opposite.

    But by the same token, if in this next year I finally get the sense that this phase’s only remembrance will be a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, I’ll do everything I can to get the hybrids and all their passengers upstairs permanently with all due and graceful dispatch. Hoping there’ll be time for that.

    Mark Dublin

  16. Regarding the ST3 MVET sticker shock pearl clutching…

    It seems primarily people are peeved that “you valued my $12,000 car at $18,000 and taxed me based on that” and less about “the total charge was $x and that is too high”.

    Can someone explain what would have happened theoretically if the MVET valuation formula had been changed to “blue book value” or similar before the #ST3 fees were charged? Since ST3 was a fixed amount (~$54B) would’t that just mean that your $12,000 car would be valued at $12,00 but you would pay 1.5x the tax rate and end up with the same bill. I don’t recall seeing anything that said we were approving a specific rate of licensing tab fees, but maybe that was just excluded from discussions?

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