Busway - Bridleway Crossing

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42 Replies to “News Roundup: ITDP Gold”

  1. Warning: the story about the Southwest Line in Minneapolis produces a seemingly unlimited list of “back” entries, at least on Chrome. It’s impossible to return to STB; you have to kill the tab and open a new one.

    1. So, right click and “Open in a new tab” that you can nuke when you’re finished.

      1. Don’t know about Android, but in Safari on iOS you can long press on a link to open the context menu and then tap Open in New Tab.

  2. Congestion-based tolling. Yes, please. And, yes, spend the money on pedestrian, transit, and safety improvements, NOT additional freeway lanes.

    1. And start by placing a toll on the I-90 floating bridge. Doing so would restore balance to the cross lake commute and immediately reduce congestion on the I-90 FB, I-405 in DT Bellevue, and I-5 in DT Seattle. It’s a no-brainer.

      If the decision is to manage the tolls on SR-520 and I-90 as a set with a reduced toll on SR-520, then so be it. The main thing is to get a toll on both bridges and restore balance to the commute.

      Congestion pricing works. We need to start using it.

      1. Can’t do it without replacing it. If WSFOT could, they would have done so already.

  3. One of the intersections I regularly use in Portland has had the pedestrian advanced walk signal time added (SE Main and Chavez – in the Hawthorne District). It does help quite a bit, but right turn on red drivers are still a hazard. They really need to add it to more of the signals.

    1. I’ve seen it done in a couple of places in Seattle as well. Of course, if the pedestrian arrives after the light is already green, it doesn’t do much good.

  4. Can you start putting a ($) next to the News Tribune articles? Just like with Seattle Times and NY Times, you are limited to a certain number of freebies per month.

  5. Seems to me the $500 mil transfer out of ST3 is going to start being distributed.

    King, Snohomish, Pierce counties gain extra $500 million for education over 15 years
    Originally published December 3, 2017 at 6:00 am Updated December 2, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    By Paige Cornwell
    Seattle Times staff reporter

    King County is now starting to talk about how to spend its portion of the money — about $318 million — which must go toward improving academic outcomes for kids who are low-income, homeless or in other vulnerable groups.

    . . .

    In its first decision about the money, the King County Council plans to vote Dec. 11 on whether its priorities will include early learning, K-12 education for vulnerable and underserved youth, and college and career training.

    “We want to try to narrow our focus enough so that we make deeper investments in a few areas, as opposed to shallow investments all over the place,” Balducci said. “To do that, we need to decide — and this is going to be the challenging part — where do you make those deep investments?”

    The funds are coming from an account created by an amendment sponsored by Jessyn Farrell, a Democrat who then represented the 46th Legislative District in Seattle.

    Granted I don’t live in the Sound Transit District, but I would hope there is an effort to lobby the money is spent on job training to work in the transit industry. So the transit money stays in… transit. So we’re not using transit dollars to fund non-transit matters. So we’re helping clear pathways to work for those whom need it most.

    1. They’re not transit dollars, they’re education dollars. That ship sailed two years ago. It was a remarkably small price to pay – that we’d make a modest contribution to our own local education funding in exchange for all of the tens of billions of transit revenue authority requested.

      1. Dan;

        OK, fair enough.

        So I’d like to see the education dollars – or at least some of those “education dollars” steered towards job training for transit jobs. Figure we make a “modest contribution” of “deep investments” towards “sailing” towards “career training” in transit careers for “vulnerable and underserved youth”. That something we could please mutually agree on?

        Yours with respect;


    2. “So I’d like to see the education dollars – or at least some of those “education dollars” steered towards job training for transit jobs.”

      Great tactic in the meantime, Joe, that can be implemented immediately. As many “field trips”, museum visits, and the like deliberately including travel by transit. Trains, they” trample the adults to get aboard.

      Few years ago, very large group of elementary school kids got on my LINK train at Tukwila, headed down the Art Museum to see the Picasso exhibit. Leading up to the trip, each student did their own Picasso to take along.

      Teacher told me every field trip on a train, and in her own experience, ball games, or anything else- the children loved their train rides more than destination event. Calculating ages and years, that field trip probably put ST-3 over the top.

      But more important, would be really valuable to get children, early, into the design and mechanics of vehicles, operations, and structures. Main reason for so much trauma over learning math is that very few people can see mathematics in the abstract.

      But given actual examples of what each type of math- geometry, trigonometry, all the way up to calculus- is really used for, learning curve skyrockets. No rule a math class has to be in a classroom. Which doesn’t brake, vibrate, sway, or accelerate.

      Starting immediately to provide people eagerly skilled in transit design, manufacture, maintenance and positive voting. And a political mindset that in twenty years should be rolling at 60 past the mindsets stuck in the automobiles below.

      Nothing to lose by trying. At least a lot of kids will get a good train ride- which might eventually turn some of them to math. Respect is yours, Joe.


      1. Mark;

        I agree. I want as much of a % of this appropriation to tie back into transit. I will certainly incorporate into my remarks field trips – but I think the real focus should be “career training” in transit careers and maybe construction careers for “vulnerable and underserved youth”. I’m sure the sponsor of this amendment – who I’ve invited to my talk next Monday as I now do you and Dan (I’ll make PowerPoint seat tags) – would agree.

        We really need to make sure the expenditures are respectful of the involuntary donors paying into ST3 and awesome Sound Transit. We really do.



  6. Everyone knows that the place where you pick up and drop off, deliver packages, answer your phone, respond to police emergencies, or just pull over to take a nap, is IN THE BIKE LANE.

  7. Loved the piece on the increasing demand for curb space and some of the proposed strategies for dealing with the issue. For me, outside of transit use and emergency services, all curb space in dense urban areas should require payment for use of said space, within a certain time period set by the city. This includes ride-sharing services, taxis and commercial vehicles. I’m sure there are some exceptions that have to be considered, such as government vehicles (USPS vehicles as an example).

    1. Ride-sharing services, taxis, and commercial vehicles all pay a bulk annual tax for parking-space use in lieu of metering individual parking minutes. Do we really need to have per-minute metering or have them continually go to the curbside parking meters? In the case of an Uber ride, how much should be charged to the individual passenger who has no control over how their driver parks or what Uber tells all drivers to do?

      1. What bulk annual tax are you referring to? And I didn’t say anything about per-minute metering.

      2. In most places, and countries, local versions of Uber and Lyfft are only two companies among many. Is anybody we don’t hear about competing with these two? Wonder how much cash it would take to start one and find out.


      3. Car2go pays a bulk rate for street parking. Don’t Uber and Lyft pay fees to operate? And commercial vehicles pay a fee to park in commercial spaces. If you don’t like the current system, what is the alternative besides per-minute fees?

      4. People, people, people, the world existed before Uber and Lyft. There are taxi pick-up and drop-off zones that holders of actual taxi medallions can use and have used for years and years. Uber and Lyft drivers can’t use them because they don’t pay the fees or follow the regulations; they pay lower fees and follow looser regulations similar to “for-hire” services that can’t pick up street hails. Pretty much the whole point of Uber and Lyft is to use smartphones, both on the rider and driver side, to simulate street-hailing, while avoiding taxi regulations by not actually doing street-hailing. I mean, these companies tried to avoid the for-hire regulations, too! It isn’t for nothing that a few cities have banned them — or, to put it more precisely, have actually enforced their existing regulations on for-hire services instead of bowing down before these paragons of dubious innovation. Back in the mid-20th century, when actually underserved communities organized their own taxi services in contravention of city laws, the city sent police out to physically shut down their businesses. Now when some dumb chuckling Silicon Valley bros set out to “disrupt” an industry by ignoring standing regulations, consolidating profits, and busting labor, the so-called progressive cities of the west coast run before their whip, to rewrite the laws in their image.

        Unable to use the zones set aside for licensed, regulated, full-fee-paying taxis, Uber and Lyft now want the city to come up with a new category of street space just for them. In the mean time their drivers will just keep making pickups illegally in the busiest parts of town: in general-purpose lanes, bus lanes, bike lanes, loading zones, and anywhere else they can manage. They want to have their cake and eat it too, and I have no sympathy for it. Uber and Lyft, between the drivers and the companies, combine the worst of entitled American car culture with the worst of entitled, antisocial corporatism. In both cases if you give an inch they’ll take a mile. We’d be better off drawing a hard line and enforcing our laws regarding pick-up locations than indulging them further by handing out more curb space. They want Amazon pick-ups? Let ’em negotiate for space in the Amazon garage like they did at the airport. Then see how nice and cheap your Uber ride is.

    2. Except for airports, rules requiring payment for curb space to pick up and drop off passengers would be essentially unenforceable, and would be violated left and right.

    3. yeah wait until all our downtown curb space starts to look like an airport pick up. you can have the smartest automated cars in the world but their passengers are humans, and humans arent on-time. the vehicles will be waiting, idling and stacking up all the curb space waiting for their passengers to pay their bar tabs, run to the toilet, or just not give a f**

      1. The only reason why curb space is even a scarce resource to begin with is that so much of it is squandered on storage of private cars. Get rid of the street parking downtown, and there will be plenty of space for all the loading and unloading we’ll ever need.

  8. Thanks for rescuing me, Bruce. Was having a nightmare I was in a Sarah Hall novel. Trapped aboard a fleeing city bus being pursued across northern England a thousand years ago. Tattooed women warriors as it’s turned out, timeless. Look up Sarah Hall and brace yourself.


  9. I really love that article by Walker. To quote:

    And no, it’s not a problem that the buses continue beyond the end of the right of way to do further things in mixed traffic at the east end of the line. One of the great virtues of BRT is that it can do this. The vehicles are not confined to the infrastructure, as rail transit is, so they can continue to key destinations beyond the busway itself. Of course, if those mixed traffic segments become too congested, the busway will eventually need to be extended further.

    It is just so sensible. It is what this city needs, big time. Of course it would be better if we had a major, urban subway (like DC has) but it is obvious that such a thing won’t be built here until the next century (if then). But we can at least make the buses faster. Ideally we should stop wasting our time with streetcars (whether the rubber wheeled kind or not) and just focus on the right of way.

    Run a lot of buses on third, and run a lot of buses on first (in the center). Third should be an all day transit mall, even if it does allow local access. Ban left turns on 3rd. This makes sense today (I never understood why so much of the city allows left turns). Once you do that, the only cars will be those on the right side of the street. This means the left lane is wide open, which means every bus can pass every other bus. The buses on third should be traditional (cheap) buses, with doors on the right. It isn’t exactly transit Nirvana, but like the old bus tunnel, things move very quickly.

    The only problem occurs if you simply have too many buses. Which is why the heavy lifters should be on 1st. Have a few of the RapidRide+ buses (those that might qualify for ITDP gold) run in that center lane, but also connect to more distant places (Ballard, West Seattle, Aurora, etc.). Again, not perfect, but way less congested than the streetcar, which will continue to bog down on either end, while managing to simultaneously be way too short to provide much functionality. Imagine the 70 and 7, tied together, with bus only lanes or BAT lanes from South Lake Union to I-90. That is sensible, and the sort of thing we should build.

      1. Yeah, sure, but third is already transit only during rush hour (when traffic jams occur). Banning cars on third at noon isn’t going to cause a traffic catastrophe if they are banned at 5:00. The two changes on third are pretty simple:

        1) Make it transit only 24 hours a day. This would help speed up buses in the middle of the day, but the big benefit is easier enforcement. I’m sure there are people who get on third, check the time, and go “oops”. Then they either continue to cheat, or are forced to take a right at the next corner, even if it isn’t where they want to go. This isn’t good for anyone.

        2) Ban left turns from third. Banning left turns is a good idea in general. Numerous studies have shown it makes traffic move faster.

        Those two changes — while not perfect — would make things run a lot smoother on third. The change for 1st wouldn’t be any different for general purpose traffic than what they are proposing now. Simply give the right of way that they are planning on giving to the streetcar over to the buses. Even if we do go ahead and build the streetcar, there is no reason the buses shouldn’t use the lanes as well.

      2. I re-read the post by Walker on the Toronto King Street projects, and I saw some clever things they did there to physically force cars to make right turns. That’s another advantage of making it transit only 24 hours a day – you can physically rearrange the street, still giving cars access to entrances, drop-off zones, and whatnot, while preventing through traffic. It can also allow for clever things like bus loading in the middle of the street, allowing the bus to not use the right lane.

    1. Somewhat off topic of Ross’ comment, but it makes me wonder why Eugene’s Emerald Express wasn’t considered the first Gold BRT. The percent of route with dedicated lanes seems greater than that of Austin.

      1. The Emerald Express was given a bronze, not a gold. There are a lot of criteria they look at (not just how much right of way) and some are debatable. The weight of each criteria is debatable as well. It is tough to find detailed reports, but I did find a spreadsheet, which listed the Eugene system, from a few years ago: https://3gozaa3xxbpb499ejp30lxc8-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com//srv/htdocs/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/BRT-2014-Scorecards2.xlsx

        The areas where the Emerald Express got a zero, with the potential score are:

        6 — Intersection Treatment — No signal priority I assume
        4 — Multiple Routes
        3 — Peak Frequency
        3 — Express, Limited and Local Service
        2 — Multi-Corridor Network
        5 — Passing Lanes at Stations
        2 — Center Stations

        There were some other minor flaws as well. It is pretty easy to argue how ITDP is nitpicking here. For example, you may just not need express, limited and local service. Madison BRT certainly doesn’t need that — the corridor is too small. If you then have buses that never get stuck, why would you need passing lanes? This is an eight point deduction for basically the same thing, and something some would argue isn’t needed.

        I get what ITDP is doing, and on some level it makes a lot of sense. An integrated BRT network, with both express and local service, and buses that pass other buses makes a lot of sense for a lot of areas. That is what Brisbane has, and it is obvious it works really well. But that doesn’t mean that a system like Emerald Express isn’t very well designed to address a city like Eugene, which is much, much smaller. It is clear that they aren’t just judging individual lines, but how well those lines integrate with the rest of the system. That means something like Madison BRT, even if it is fast, frequent and otherwise great, will be docked significantly because it is the only bus line like that in this city.

      2. Another good way to think about it is – not every transit problem requires a gold solution. Sometimes, a “bronze” BRT fits the need just fine. So while a Gold BRT is ‘better,’ it can be overkill, just like building subways everywhere would be overkill.

        So while converting, say, the E-line to Gold would be great, but converting the B-line to Gold is probably unnecessary given the corridor and proximity to East Link.

    2. “way too short to provide much functionality.”

      LOL. The CCC is the perfect length for a center-city circulator.

    3. “The only problem occurs if you simply have too many buses. Which is why the heavy lifters should be on 1st.”

      The DSTT transfers are on 3rd. The Pike/Pine stops are on 3rd. Most of the destinations are between 2nd and 6th, and it’s a steep hill up from 1st between University and Yesler.So the heavy lifters should be on 3rd for the most effective network. Some secondary routes can be on 1st.

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