Northgate TC platform

This is an open thread.

27 Replies to “News Roundup: An Early Peek”

  1. What’s WSDOT’s take on the I-5 lid? I imagine if we find the couple billion it’d take to lid it, they’d be all for it. But WSDOT is notorious for being very selfish when it comes to their ROW, and I can’t see them allowing housing over their freeway (not to mention you probably need fed approval too).

    1. RapidRider, Jim Ellis, the founder of Metro, was largely responsible for the lid we have. But his original plan was to lid the entire length of I-5 through Downtown Seattle. And I doubt he thought homes and parks were at all conflicting uses.

      Doubt anybody can argue that present or future lid limits right-of-way. Unless somebody has plans to double-deck the thing, in which case we fiscal responsibility mandates pouring concrete into the whole trench.

      The real estate that squashed so many of us out of Seattle doubtless contains enough money to finish the lid. And the political power to do it. And, unfortunately the people who’ll be able to afford a home there, who already have their piece of presently-empty air picked out.

      Will still support the project, provided it’s not gated. Also, think of it as the future Old Town of Seattle. Though with ground-well lid-breaking, we need to start the campaign to keep it from re-gentrifying when future history once again makes it affordable by artists and other working people.

      Weather is unpredictable in this region, but ill-wind occasionally inadvertently causes fresh air.

      Mark Dublin

  2. Throwing this out there to the horde: which candidate surprised you/impressed you most at last week’s mayoral forum?

    1. No matter how bad a mess Seattle’s approaching repeat of the 2008 crash has made out of I-5 corridor traffic between my present voting district and my last one, I can’t help Seattle pick its Mayor. But if I could:

      Jessyn Farrel and Cary Moon are doing excellent and badly needed service just where they are.

      Jenny Durkan? Private prisons have enough tenants without your locking up those kids from Olympia across the street from Angle Lake Station, Jenny. If I wanted that stripe of prosecutor in the person of a Mayor, I’d write in Mark Sidran or Jeff Sessions.

      Bob Hasegawa has an interesting personal resume. But however he feels about transit, at which he used to make a living, his handling of the car-tab issue doesn’t speak well of him as an elected leader.

      Same for even mentioning the soda pop tax. Coca Cola could raise its prices by a dollar a can and still sell same number of half- gallon buckets to the average hard-core pop drinker.

      Mike McGinn’s actual experience as a mayor should put him far ahead on the list. Except since she did not wait for Ed Murray to be disgraced out of office before she started her campaign, Nikkita Oliver would get my vote simply for running against him when he was still powerful and well-financed.

      I’m glad she’s young enough for a lot more elections of all kinds, one of which she’ll certainly win.


  3. Transit etiquette seems worse because crowding makes bad behavior more impactful.

    Defiant backpack-wearers and oblivious door/aisle-blockers are not problems when trains and buses are less crowded.

    1. Alex, when you think about it, the less empty space their is in any transit vehicle, the less discourtesy, because nobody has enough room to commit any.

      Though have read that in the days of the streetcars designed for “Hobble Skirts”…..

      Ladies’ hair fashions included hat-pins at least 18″ long. I think legal knife-blade is 4″, considering whatever other hair-fashions the law permits, historic hair-style can’t be forbidden. Too bad nobody in the “Right to Bear Arms” community remembers the “Right to Wear Means To bleed Somebody to Death Before They Can Draw.”

      Also, no fear of missing and hitting the innocent. And definite deterrence of repeat groping offense, even after discovery of penicillin. Even Secret Service would never be quick enough to save the Habitual Perpetrator they sadly swore to defend this last January.

      Last BART ride, stood next to a young woman who pointed out a man her age whom she faulted for not giving her his seat. Not thinking that, from the look of him, she’d be breaking the law by taking a seat from somebody disabled by laziness, bad manners,and substance consumption.

      “Healthy as a horse” is an old-fashioned compliment that can get the giver killed without a horse-shoe mark. Though the day I deteriorate to the point of letting a hard-working and therefore debt-enslaved person who’s paying my social security to give me her seat, I’ll have been dead long enough to make it really bad manners to be on a crowded train.

      Meantime, however, with the lack of luggage space on an airport train that would shame rural Bulgaria, I’ll be glad to let the cute little seat-hog have my cushion for his luggage. Also advocate new advisory creature: The Tap Monkey!

      Put him on a poster over every card reader, and nobody will ever hurt his feelings by refusing to “Tap Off”. And also nothing else in the system get damaged the next time I get ID’d for tapping my paid-off monthly pass one time too many.


    2. There are many Metro drivers that will encourage standing riders to move away from doors using their microphone.

      I was on several overcrowded Link trains this past weekend. No announcements were made. I’m not sure how the drivers are trained about these issues, but it was clear that the Link drivers generally were not taking any responsibility for the situation.

      1. Al, some LINK drivers could weight in on this, but I don’t think drivers even have video view of what’s happening aboard their trains. These aren’t PCC streetcars.

        There’s also a very limited amount a train driver can do, especially since we never run single-car trains anymore.

        In general, a driver is not permitted to leave the cab to deal with any passenger handling problem.

        So it may be time to start creating “Conductor” as a job description.


      2. Metro, at least on some buses, has a recorded announcement the driver can play asking people to move to the back. It seems to work pretty well – the challenging part is getting people to move up the stairs – same psychological barrier as moving towards the center section of the Link car, which is constrained in the manner of a corridor. I hope that the new cars on order make that area feel more open. Nobody wants to move in there as you really feel like you’re in somebody’s lap. That part of the car is terribly designed. (Also – if cars are overcrowded during rush hours, enforce not only the “move to the middle” but prohibit more bicycles than can be hung in the bike/luggage area. Each one not stowed takes the place of 2-3 people, and almost by definition they have to be in the doorways where there is sufficient room to stand with them. Cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen don’t even allow that; both ban them completely during rush hours and charge an additional fare at all other times.)

      3. The aisles above the stairs were empty even though it was a crush load below the stairs.

        More importantly, I think it’s obvious when the train is crowded because it takes longer to get on and off a train at many doors. Since operators need to monitor the open door times, they know unless they are really stupid and badly trained.

      4. That’s an inherent problem when you don’t have the low-floor cars, and that’s exacerbated when you don’t use the full-train (or even half-train) open gangway. Unfortunately ST doubled down on their standee-unfriendly car design in the newest purpose because reasons (yeah, I know, “what if we want to use three cars?” – figure it out!) instead of selecting models that could hold more passengers, decrease hold times at stations, even out distribution of standees throughout the train, and remove the psychological barrier of going up the steps. I don’t believe we even did the obvious thing and remove the center section’s 2-2 seating for a row of inward-facing seats on each side. Of course this means little help will be coming in that regard for the next 20 years, so we’d better just get used to bunching at the doors forever unless ST decides to move in with truncheons and make people move to the middle.

  4. I thought the Seattle Times article on congestion charges & tolling was very even-handed, walking through both the policy benefits and political difficulties.

    1. From what I’ve red, erentz, the land south of Jackson barely classes as “fill.” It’s more like water with a little dirt in it.

      The concrete floor of IDS staging sits on several dozen concrete pads at the tops of hundred-foot-long wooden piles driven into the mud at angle so every footing resembles a very tall Sioux “Tipi” with a concrete rectangle across the point.

      Before we could start the DSTT tunnel machines boring northward from Jackson, we had to pump “grout”, a kind of cement, into the ground for months to get the soil solid enough to hold the bore.

      Reason Waterfront Tunnel had to be a very Deep Bore. That’s where first solid ground can be found. Situation could also cause problems for an elevated structure. But for any proposed transit-way above or below grade, soils and rocks are where the conversation starts.


  5. Why is the mid-day South Sounder train still only 2 cars long? Any plans to lengthen it to full size or is there no need?

    1. It will be extended in September, and soon all South Line trains will be full length. I think the popularity of the early southbound trip has surprised ST. New railcars should begin arriving soon.

  6. On mountlake terrace station:
    I can understand their complaint. The mountlake terrace station is probably the worst in terms of walkability. So if it makes sense to add parking spaces anywhere, it makes sense to add them at the mountlake terrace station.

    The station has a park on one side and a freeway on the other. Even once you walk past that it’s just single family homes.

    Mountlake terrace and brier seem to have weak bus service overall. Just 2 lines that are a decent hike from a lot of neighborhoods. Hopefully bus service will improve a bit… but I wonder.

    1. Don’t forget the plot of land South of the park and ride that I assume they’ll likely create some TOD there

    2. Mountlake Terrace has a street grid and sidewalks. It is fine for walkability. The largest flaw is the alignment in in the freeway envelope; freeways are to pedestrians, as dams are to fish.

      Please consider the 2023 local network, not the 2017 local network. CT is smart. All the hours they are spending on I-5 will go to improved local service frequency. Connections that now take place at Aurora Village may be made at Mountlake Terrace. CT has its new local option sales tax and is improving service now.

      Parking does not scale. It takes up too much valuable land and too much money. It attracts traffic in the peak hours that will slow local transit service, that will carry the vast majority of Link riders to and from the station. The existing parking could be priced. If the city really wants more parking, they could build it, hopefully next to a use that would use it off-peak.

      1. I don’t see any new routes planned in mountlake terrace and brier for 2023. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong place, but…

        Park and rides don’t scale up, but bus service doesn’t scale down. In other words, a one size fits all approach doesn’t work. With the current situation that station will have very lower ridership.

      2. >> bus service doesn’t scale down

        It most certainly does.

        Consider headways (or frequency). Imagine a bus route that runs every half hour. Now imagine it is getting crowded. That means fare recovery is very good, but service is less than ideal (you leave some people on the curb, while others are stuck packed inside). So run the bus twice as often. This costs more, so you would assume that the transit agency basically is spending twice as much for the same number of riders (the same farebox recovery).

        Except that you get more riders. The change from 30 minute service to 15 minute is huge. Now people view transit differently, and the buses are crowded again. So you go to 10 minutes, and so on. It becomes a virtuous circle.

        The opposite is true of park and ride lots. Not only do the become more expensive (as you either buy up very expensive land or build expensive parking structures) but they are less effective for the customers. You create congestion around the park and ride, and require drivers to walk farther to get to the platform. Anyone who has parked at SeaTac knows this.

        The lot is big enough. There are 900 stalls. If it is full, then the agencies involved should do the following:

        1) Start charging money. Put the money into the following:

        2) Study park and ride usage. Figure out where people are coming from. Then do the following:

        3) Add satellite park and ride lots.

        4) Connect the park and ride lots as well as “hot spot” neighborhoods with fast, frequent bus service.

        5) Add bus lanes and other improvements, so that riding the bus to the station is competitive with driving.

        6) If you can’t justify frequent fixed route service to the various places, then run access vans. But I really doubt that will be the case. If a 900 unit lot is full, most likely there are bus loads of people using it from one neighborhood or another.

    1. I agree, it just seems like there’s a bunch of money sitting around, but I’ve never heard anyone besides hoteliers or people who work for the Convention Center talk about this “need”. They already got a complete sweetheart deal from the county though, so probably too late.

      Meanwhile, if Metro needs a few extra bucks it’s time to go to the voters! But a new convention center that will cause massive disruptions and isn’t needed is somehow able to cruise right through, no input required.

      Sometimes I think Seattle is just as corrupt as Chicago, just with a friendlier smile.

      1. I agree. The arguments for it are ridiculous,. Overly big convention centers have failed, repeatedly, to live up to their promises.

        Besides, look at what is promised: More jobs and more construction. That really is the last thing this city needs. We are at full employment. Construction is happening at breakneck speed. We have a housing crisis, not an employment crisis. We struggle with transportation, and now we need more jobs downtown? The whole thing is absurd.

        I would feel better about it if there was some great public benefit, but there isn’t. This isn’t a symphony hall, or a basketball arena (by the way, this would be a great location for either). This is a convention center used by tourists, many of whom (just out of habit) want to drive there.

        The timing for it makes things even worse. At the very least they should delay the project until Link gets to Northgate.

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