24 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Tokyo Roller Coaster Subway Rap”

  1. What are the odds that the #70 (or whatever replaces it with service down Eastlake) gets modified to intercept Link in South Lake Union, once the Ballard Line opens? With current routing, such a connection would require either 1/4 mile walking, with a very steep hill, or backtracking all the way downtown to Westlake Station.

    It would be nice if the 70 could turn west to intercept Link sooner, if it weren’t for that annoying fact that the trolley wire seeks to immortalize today’s routing for all time.

    1. asdf2, all the hard stuff is already set up for what you want. Inbound, instead of turning south and heading uphill on Fairview, as it does now, the 70 could share right of way with the SLU streetcar past the Wooden Boat Center. All that’s needed is to change the track to grooved rail for that one section.

      And, like RapidRide, also share the reserved lane on Westlake into Downtown. By then, electric fleet should have batteries with enough storage to run the stretch between Fred Hutch and Fifth and Stewart off-wire.

      Easier than fitting buses with a a pantograph, which due to the tires still need negative wire, even if voltages could be reconciled.

      Show those Swedes we can get more “Likes” on YouTube than those giant Swedish semi’s. Well…..leave it at the batteries. Are we anywhere near even knowing where the South Lake Union LINK station will be?

      Also no reason the 70 can’t get enough buses to keep Fairview service too. But for any public utility, citizens can leave the odds at the dog track (where Greyhound got the name, before it went to the kennels.) Organize South Lake Union and fight. Though will bet (get off it, Mark!) the community thinks your way already.


    2. I would imagine it to be possible. They did this for the trolley buses to serve Link when it opened in the Rainier Valley.

      What/where would the 70 go once it hits Link in SLU though? Run down Westlake into downtown?

      1. That’s my plan. One switch trailing into existing wire at Steward, then run Third to terminal.

        But since I’m going to be on the road today, couple of topics I’d like to put in for today for comments, or not.

        1. Am thinking now that ST and over the next years, ST and the rest of transit need to find away to shape new development, rather than having to adjust to expanding sprawl as we do now. Rules forbidding collusion with development community – cite precedent of the old Streetcar Suburbs, and get the rules changed. New majority in Olympia? Let’s start to use it.

        2. Mentioned staging special events to let people actually experience a car-free Downtown for a weekend. Third transit-only, reserved lanes and pre-empted signals other arterials. Temporarily expanded parking at outermost LINK stations.

        Hard to get people to accept change to something they’ve never seen. Railroads used to do huge yearly expositions in Chicago. Exhibition ground not middle of Downtown, but space probably larger.

        3. Unless ST’s service area is going to secede from the State of Washington, let’s develop some measures to expand our service area. Which last couple years Seattle housing market is doing for us by driving transit voters into our enemies districts.

        I’m talking just the opposite of compromise. Last 40 right-wing years prove that aggression works. But am suggesting that Seattle and King County have much to gain by investing where it’ll create the jobs that’ll be the best way to get our former voters back from the Far Right.

        4. Apportion interagency fares without bothering the District Court. I’d pay whatever extra it takes to render my monthly pass blanket immunity for fare evasion charge. On my way to Angle Lake right now.

        Cost-wise, my paper All Day pass is cheap fare-evader-title insurance.
        But only thing that makes me madder than a stupid play in an idiotic game is temptation to tap my pass corretcly anyhow. Used to tap carefully, by habit, because I support electronic fares. Now, I’ll be damned if I’ll be bullied into it.

        Apportion fares by dividing revenue by seven. Smaller outfits gaining more can use it to become bigger, providing more fares for the whole system. Also, whole idea of a Regional agency was to give people a choice of whose buses to use at any given time.

        I don’t know whose railcars and buses I’m going to ride today. So will be glad to pay once to use whichever I want. Exactly like our evil brothers the cars have been doing since before Henry Ford.

        Will check when I get back from my niece’s clarinet concert in West Seattle. Make up an agency- map for me.

        Mark Dublin.

    3. I’m torn on the Eastlake BRT routing. The current 70 routing serves the denny triangle area fairly well. With the closure of Convention place station the Denny triangle area will lose a lot of accessibility. That said, i think reliability will be better on the Westlake routing since the conflicts with denny/Mercer/i5 related congestion will be less.
      Historically I thought the Eastlake BRT evolved from McGinn administration plans to extend the Streetcar to UW. But I thought this was preliminarily designed and found to be too costly due to Fairview trestle retrofit complications among other things. So if a Streetcar extension to UW is never going to happen and the Westlake BRT routing is chosen, It seems the Fairview segment of the streetcar could be torn out if in conflict with BRT.
      And this might help enable a streetcar extension to fremont or SPU, where the grades and available ROW are already essentially prepared.

      And to Ponchos question: how about battery tunnel and Alaska way?!

      1. Thats exactly what I think should happen with the streetcar, send it to Fremont and the Zoo. Have a center running transitway along Westlake from Westlake Hub to the Fremont Bridge (a good chance Westlake will be torn up anyway with subway construction so relocate the tracks to a shared bus-rail transitway in the center lanes which is better for transit operations and bikes).

        I hear the Battery tunnel would need to be rebuilt for any re-use, still would be nice to see it reused for something beneficial especially for transit

    4. The 70 will be Roosevelt RapidRide. Adding one block of trolley wire is no big deal; the expense is adding long stretches of it. The old network favored the status quo, while the new network favors Link stations, so there’s a reasonable chance they might do it. The location of the Link station is not officially decided yet — that’s what next year is for. As long as it doesn’t go out of the way for one block and then turn back; that would be an excessive number of turns.

    5. that raises a good question though about the 8 serving this SLU station, if the 8 moves to harrison that moves it away from the proposed location of SLU station, even if its 2-3 blocks away thats too far for a real transfer

    6. Even with today’s network, I feel kind of torn about whether the 70 would be better off on Fairview or Westlake. Westlake has more stuff around it, and is also a shorter walk to Seattle Center and Lower Queen Anne. Westlake also has bus lanes to alleviate the worst of the rush hour traffic, and, in an ideal world, would provide the final nail in the coffin to justify putting the streetcar out of its misery.

      On the other hand, Fairview is better for geographic coverage, since the Westlake corridor is already served by other routes, and is slightly faster for Eastlake->downtown trips because it has fewer stoplights (at least during the periods when traffic is light enough for the bus lane on Westlake to not be needed).

      Once the Ballard line opens, I think the balance definitely shifts in favor of Westlake, especially if the streetcar could be killed to fund the service hours for a coverage route on the south part of Eastlake (similar to the now-deleted routes 25 or 66).

      Once the 70 bus reaches the Link Station (say, Westlake and Denny), the best thing for it to do could be open for debate. Assuming a variant of the old 66 is resurrected (by cannibalizing service hours from the streetcar), I don’t think the 70 needs to go downtown anymore. Nor, does it need to go to Seattle Center (you can walk or ride Link one stop for that). I personally like the idea if sending the bus to Belltown, since it’s close, on the way, and not directly served by Link.

      1. Except the streetcar will be part of a much larger line from the south. It wont be the short little underutilized line it is today

      2. People won’t ride the streetcar from First Hill to Fremont; that’s a 15-minute overhead just to get to Pike Place. They’ll take Madison RapidRide to 62 RR or 40 RR, or they’ll take Link from Capitol Hill to U-District and the 31/32’s successor. Some people from First Avenue may take the streetcar to Fremont, but most of them are already on the 40 or 62.

      1. In the East Bay of the Bay Area there are hydrogen fuel cell buses in regular service, rode one recently down University Avenue in Berkeley.

        I’m particularly loyal to electric trolley buses myself. I guess its the overhead infrastructure that makes it a permanent part of the local urban landscape.

    7. The current trolley bus fleet can run pretty well without wire for pretty decent distances. By the time this Link line is operational I would expect battery technology would be even better.

      By that time, there may be some interest in a U shaped route that does Fremont – UW via SLU, or some other route that would alter how this fits together.

    1. Every tool to its use, Joe. For the loads those corridors will be carrying not very long from now- look at what Seattle’s whole population’s doing, and how fast- streetcars can carry more people , more comfortable, than buses.

      Have yet to see one place where under same lane conditions, buses were ever any faster than streetcars. Theoretically the can go around obstacles- but not when there’s heavy car traffic in the lanes alongside them. This isn’t either-or, anymore than toolkit choice between wrenches and screwdrivers.

      Need speed, reserve the lanes and pre-empt the signals. Given those, streetcars not only carry more passengers, but load a lot faster.


  2. Does anyone like the platform gates shown in the first 30 seconds of the video? They look wider than the doors that they would align to. Other systems that I’ve seen have full separation, but these are more like fences (guessing about a meter tall).

  3. TriMet is ripping out its iconic brick Postmodern stations on the original Gresham line and replacing them with bland glass shelters. Each of the Burnside stations had a slightly different design. E 122nd is being rebuilt now, apparently they plan to rebuild all the stations from Hollywood to Gresham. I wish transit systems would keep the iconic station designs of the time they were built, just like I was disappointed when they got rid of the old black disco-era Transit Mall shelters.

  4. Also, poncho, I wouldn’t have traded my time driving the articulated trolleys, the MAN’s on the Route 7, though the Route 2 is pretty. It’s as shame Breda was even allowed in the industry, but Oslo Norway, which should have known better, got stuck with the most awful junk in the world for street rail. Low bid should be against the Geneva Conventions.

    Even so, was very proud to see what we could do with the dual power buses we got, which really was a terrific way to handle our particular political, financial and ridership situation. Was kind of sorry we ended up with anything at all with a combustion engine in the DSTT.



    But would’ve given anything if we could’ve specked out this propulsion in mid 1980’s. Not only a king’s ransom less expensive, tougher, and easier to run in the DSTT, but I think we could’ve wired the I-90 express lanes.

    Incidentally, the young woman driver is exactly the type of girl who also drives buses and streetcars in Sweden. And who’d have no trouble keeping order on any Route 7 run in our system.

    But to me the trolleybuses were excellent lessons in machines where driver’s ability to take advantage of gradient for accelerating ans stopping, to name a couple, took real and very worthwhile skill to learn. Shame that trolleybus work was never paid a premium.

    As 60 footers, starting with diesels. originally were, for the extra loads they carried. Not only because trolley routes average trolley route pulled even heavier, but mostly because it takes about a year full time to be comfortable with trolley-driving.

    And wages lower than deserved meant many drivers were forced onto trolleys because their seniority was low- meaning they escaped as soon as they’d been driving long enough to get off of them. Don’t know about now- and had some excellent instructors. Too bad every trolley driver didn’t.

    Curious to see how long it’ll be to get a battery pack that’ll pull a 60′ standing load up the Counterbalance or James Street from Third to Harborview. Thought struck me in San Francisco- every driver should make a pilgrimage to the MUNI Route 24 Divisadero. SF shows that trolleybuses are only really good replacements for cable cars.


    KC Metro would come out ahead if it paid MUNI to train every operator out of Atlantic on that route. One round trip ride just sitting behind the driver should show any prospective driver what the real work entails to be done right. I’d pay MUNI a thousand dollars to train me to where I could qualify.

    Always advocated trolley bus rodeos- got to be some somewhere. Russia, maybe. Like powered plane pilots used to train on gliders- like Captain Sullenberger, who set the jet down in the Hudson. “Feel” for the coach carries over well into all equipment. If you hire on now, poncho, doubt your job skill will go obsolete all that soon.


  5. poncho, since you like trolleybuses:


    Everybody else who’s seen this one, you don’t have to look, but I still haven’t given up on extending the Route 7 to Ellensburg. Another transit-oriented lady staff member who would do wonders for ridership.
    I’d pay even more to qualify on this one than on the 24, which is not 50 miles long, running over a mountain range.



    Here’s an interesting piece everybody should read, because it gives some perspective on the way the the rest of the world’s people look at everyday life, especially around public transit, in conditions that make the US look like a pillar of complete political unity. Which by world standards we really are.

    The woman speaker, and the periodical, see things from the point of view of the people in Ukraine who consider themselves Russians. And whose main complaint about Vladimir Putin is that he isn’t tough enough. I’m pretty sure the people who drive, and ride, this particular trolley system fall into this category.

    While millions of their neighbors think the opposite, for equally valid reasons. Also sure that every single place in that part of the world where we’ve got soldiers fighting suffers from same situation, except much worse. In most of the world, terms like “Country” and “Border” don’t quite fit world’s real outlook:

    “Our family- thousands of brothers, cousins, and usual dozens of relations. Your family. Same. Whatever you get, we lose. Whatever we get- see last sentence. What’s a border? ”

    But something most of the world agrees upon regarding the United States: What Americans have never heard of, the people our soldiers are stationed among have never forgotten over five thousand years. Let alone forgiven. At age 200, our country is at least 800 years too young to have accumulated any enemies.


  6. I wonder if anybody noticed this about the Tokyo subway: the flat linear plate running along between the rails. Pretty sure the Skytrain uses same.


    As I understand it, the circular array of electromagnets in a standard electric motor are flattened out, so with no moving parts, the train is pulled along by same magnetic field- with no moving parts.


    Understand, that while “maglev” (magnetic levitation) trains also float on magnets repelling other magnets are powered by linear motors, they also work for wheeled trains, like in the Tokyo subways and the Skytrain system.

    Has its advantages and weaknesses. As yet, not many in the world.


  7. KILL THOSE OBNOXIOUS ADS NOW! I was just reading this article and it jumped to the Ford ad at the bottom and started playing it, and when I tried to scroll up it kept jumping back down to it. I paused the video and it stopped, but then when I was in the middle if typing a comment it did it again. I tried to pause the video again but somehow clicked through to another site and had to go back. I kept going up and typing and it kept jumping back down to the ad. Then I let the ad play its 15 seconds of bullshit (technical term, see Anathem), but then it positioned itself at the beginning and insisted I watch it again. At that point I pressed Reload on the page and lost my unfinished comment.

    Earlier I had a problem with Amazon ads. These hijacked the browser tab and without adding a history entry so I couldn’t use the back button; I had to use my bookmark to go to the main page. I’m not sure if the Amazon ads were SETh’s fault because sometimes it switched to T-Mobile and T-Mobile is my carrier so perhaps it inserted them. But the Ford ad was within an ad panel, not the entire window like the others. And it has only happened on STB, not other sites. On the other hand, 70% of what I do with the browser is STB. It’s an LG phone. This never happens on my desktop computers. It’s frustrating because. I don’t have the the tools I’d have on a desktop to combat these aggressive ads.

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