20 Replies to “Podcast #41: Not a Piggybank”

  1. I want to be on Seattle Transit Blog podcast as a serial listener!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I also want to see some Sound Transit stars on the podcast. But then again, I make many analogies between Sound Transit and the Seattle Seahawks.

    So I congratulate Scott Kubly for being the first guest star. Perhaps only right, Scott doesn’t get the credit he probably should get.

    1. Meh, time will tell if Kubly’s decision not to push Ballard to UW will be compared to the Seahawks Offensive Coordinator deciding not to give the ball to Marshawn Lynch on the New England 1 yard line. /snark

    1. Agreed. Saw him speak once at a meeting and was not impressed. Also the One Center City plan seems to be turning into to be a fiasco. Big plans with no $$$ to back up those plans, so why bother?

  2. It was nice that you got a chance to finally talk to him (it would have been more ideal if you had him on Seattle’s ST3 proposal). Was it your schedule or his that prevented meeting earlier?

    Hopefully you get someone from (likely Mayoral elect) Durkan’s transportation person on soon.

  3. Great idea to interview Kubly; I look forward to interviews with other officials and politicians. You have to work on the sound though. Kubly’s voice kept getting muffled every few minutes and I couldn’t understand what he was saying. Sometimes I had to repeat segments, and sometimes even that wasn’t enough.

    1. Agree – great content, but seemed to be some audio issues for Kubly, especially early on.

    2. + 30db. I thought it was what I was listening on, but all three of you sounded muffled and trailed off, especially on the back half of your sentences.

  4. I thought it was super interesting Kubly basically doesn’t think Link will “solve” downtown bus congestions. After listening to him, I think he’s correct – Link will allow for the removal of a bunch of CT and ST routes, but any excess capacity will simply be reallocated to more capacity on Metro routes. But I’m surprised he doesn’t use that logic to push hard for more bus lanes downtown, in particular all-day 3rd Ave. It feels like he knows it’s a good idea but is constrained by the politics of his position – he’s a public servant so can’t advocate for a particular solution like Martin & Frank can.

    SDOT seems to assume the new Link tunnel will be under 5th Ave and is making decisions accordingly. Seems a bit premature, especially to assume station box construction is going to be so disruptive to prevent buses from using the avenue … I think Seattle is a big enough city these days, and ST will have the budget, that we’ll figure out how to build the tunnel without closing entire avenues (take away lanes, sure, but not entire streets).

    1. If I recall correctly (and I may not as it was now more years ago than I care to count!), the DSTT was mined/tunneled under Third Avenue and the street was not closed (or even had lanes closed for lengthy periods). Most of the lane/turn restrictions started at that time. It was cut-and-cover construction under Pine and that did close the street for a period of time, and lanes at other times.

      I would assume that any tunnel under 5th would be bored and the stations excavated primarily through mining to the extent possible. (I’d prefer the route be on the First Hill side of the freeway, but that’s probably not going to happen despite serving an entirely new and dense area – Fifth is the best option if it’s downtown.)

      1. The tunnel between Convention Place and Westlake stations was built using the cut-and-cover method, closing Pine Street for 19 months and disrupting nearby retail businesses. The segment from Westlake to the International District was bored with two tunnel-boring machines, heading north from Union Station and finishing within a month of each other.

        Given the history of tunneling through downtown, I would bet that all bets are off as to how the alignment will run and how stations will be built. I, too, and pulling for an 8th/Madison stop.

      2. As they told us when the tunnel opened, the two individual tunnels are to tell you you’re under 3rd Avenue and that’s the mined section and goes especially deep next to Pioneer Square to go under the BNSF tunnel, and the single wide tunnel is to remind you you’re under Pine Street and that’s the cut-and-cover section.

    2. It can be hard to picture the future but you can get a glimpse of it from the past. In 2007 and 1997 people didn’t imagine what it would be like now with so many people downtown and transit ridership steadily rising. It’s good foresight to see the needs not of 2017 but of 2037. Every indication is that the population will continue to increase and jobs will continue to be added. Even if the increase slows it will still be an increase, plus there’s Amazon’s immediate plans which are in the thousands. As Kubly says, you have to keep increasing transit trips — more frequent to more places — just to avoid overcrowding. London and Moscow, as I alluded to in the news roundup, keep building new metro lines one right after another, because if they stopped the central city segments would quickly get severely overcrowded and melt down. And London started its congestion charge several years ago and I’m sure has been adding buses.

      So all those Metro hours that can be retired when ST2 and ST3 Link get built out can easily be absorbed by growth: if not immediately, then in a few years. And that could lead to a lot of suburban buses still coming downtown, from places Link doesn’t reach, or to avoid overcrowding Link. Link should be able to handle the south end and part of the Eastside. There’s been debate in ST whether it will reach capacity between Lynnwood and downtown too soon. But that’s all with the current plans: truncating the north I-5 routes, east I-90 routes, and south I-5 routes. If you add on top of that truncating everything on the Eastside: canceling the Redmond-UW and Bellevue-UW routes for instance, then that could reach Link’s capacity because each bus fits around a hundred people, and six or eight of those would fill a train, and it’s not like the trains are empty to start with. Metro has mapped out all-day expresses from where Link doesn’t reach, like Renton and Burien and Fauntleroy. The Fauntleroy route will overlap with Link but not completely: it brings a second corridor of express-level service to West Seattle rather than depending on just Link. And some of the peak expresses will be moved from the downtown core to SLU, which is still downtown-ish. So with one thing and another, some of the downtown expresses will disappear but others will just start coming from different places or going to SLU.

      As for Seattle non-express buses downtown, Metro and SDOT want to switch as many of the remaining routes on 3rd to RapidRide as soon as possible, and remove the other routes there.

      Regarding transit lanes, I didn’t quite understand Kubly’s answer because of the muffled sound and bureaucratese talk. But it sounded like: downtown has limited street capacity that can’t meet all needs, bus lanes would be too much of a stretch, 5th Avenue retail businesses are afraid it would hurt business, and having transit lanes on top of the assumed second tunnel location would expose those businesses to two construction periods and slow down Link construction. Of these, the specter of buses on 5th being bad for business is the most striking. I think he was trying hard not to say “sketchy people” make 3rd Avenue a bad retail location, and sketchy people tend to follow bus stations. He said “volume of buses”, and while a wall of buses may be another factor (although I would consider it a positive factor, and lots of walk-up customers), the wall of buses may be a euphamism for sketchy people. (And it’s not necessarily true that they’d spread out to stations on 5th. They’ve hung out at the bus stops at 45th & University Way for ever, throughout all street/business/police changes, yet they don’t hang out at the bus shelters just two blocks away at 43rd or 52nd, even though they know they’re there because they walk past them every day. So it’s not a given that they’d move to a transit mall on 5th.)

      1. Removing non-RapidRide diesel lines from Third Avenue may be in the queue, but the trolleys are not leaving.

      2. >>5th Avenue retail businesses are afraid it would hurt business<<

        All of those bus riders are potential customers. How could it possibly hurt business to have more people on your street?

      3. One issue I have with OCC, is that the south end buses are truncated at IDS. Logically I understand it, keep buses out of downtown, etc. Realistically, I don’t think LINK has enough extra capacity to absorb all the additional riders, considering as the coach is still roughly 75% full at that point, in my opinion terminating at Westlake where most people get off would be a better solution, but it would not meet the goals of the program and you might as well leave things unchanged at that point. The OCC plans for other stop improvements at IDS in my opinion will more or less go unfunded and about the only good thing to come of it is the extension of service into SLU. As for conversion of the service over to LINK entirely, I doubt that all the I-5 south buses will go away entirely, as I don’t think LINK has enough capacity nor running time advantages to make the transfer penalty worth it. Unfortunately, I think this is a lesson our transit agencies will learn the hard way.

  5. Good podcast, but there was quite a big of variation in volume. Was there a microphone that you guys were leaning in close to, then leaning back away from or something?

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