Broadway

This is an open thread.

47 Replies to “News Roundup: Wrong Getaway Vehicle”

  1. So, there are a lot of Lime bikes showing up now in Medina, some at the Evergreen Point Station and others near the 271 stops on 84th. Since they are already on the wrong side of the lake, could I use one and ride it back over the bridge? Or to some other spot on the Eastside? That is, do they work once out of Seattle?

      1. Cool – definitely going to try one out! Now, I wonder how Medina police feel about bicycle helmets (or lack thereof)…

  2. Nothing on the Fort Lawton housing proposal meeting?

    Also interesting to see the West Seattle Blog horde demanding it be underground. Along with the Ballard folks who want to tunnel under the ship canal, I sense someone might be disappointed

    1. I don’t think it’s surprising that people in West Seattle and Ballard are speaking out against elevated rail, and I’d expect to see this argument play out everywhere light rail is proposed. Building the light rail above ground is cheaper and faster for the city, but undesirable for residents and business owners who would be affected by the noise and light pollution around the tracks. I don’t agree that someone has to be disappointed – any sense that this is an either/or decision is manufactured for political purposes. That said, I think residents who “demand” underground alignments in their neighborhoods need to be willing and able to either shell out extra for the tunnel option, or decide against having light rail service in their area.

      Bottom line – tunnels are more expensive to build in Seattle, and the money needs to come from somewhere. The people who will benefit from them need to step up by contributing to the costs of the project, whether through philanthropy or taxation, or they need to accept the less desirable alternative that the city has put on the table. Personally, I’m in favor of building underground everywhere the city can afford to do so – it’s worth the extra investment.

      1. What is ridiculous is that this isn’t what was proposed. I really want Ballard to UW light rail, so should we add that, too?

        There is only so much money. That is why they came up with the elevated idea. Most plans for West Seattle were underground, until they realized how much that would cost. So rather than tell West Seattle that they should build something else — something that a lot of people thought would actually be better (like a bus tunnel along with freeway improvements) — they went ahead and proposed an elevated rail line.

        To go ahead and spend extra on these lines just means that it will take even longer before we build what a lot of people think should be built before these two projects (Ballard to UW and Metro 8 subway).

      2. >> I don’t think it’s surprising that people in West Seattle and Ballard are speaking out against elevated rail,

        What is surprising is that they didn’t speak out against it before. Reading the comments, I am struck by this. Did folks in West Seattle even bother to see what Sound Transit proposed? Was it just ignorance, or wishful thinking? Maybe they had a giant bate and switch plan all along. Pass something that is affordable, then try and switch things up later, and get something more expensive. Sound Transit is hardly known for adding extra things to what voters approved — it has been the opposite (e. g. First Hill).

        I really don’t understand it. I mentioned the issue many times, and it was quite obvious that the proposal involved elevated rail to West Seattle. Same with Ballard. That was the only way it was affordable. If you have to dig two tunnels, then suddenly Ballard to UW looks like a bargain again. But ST made it clear that with lots of elevated rail (in both places) it could fit under the budget. Now people are complaining because they are going to build exactly what was proposed?

        Oh, and if there really is that much flexibility with the projects, why on earth didn’t they just add the NE 130th station as part of Lynnwood Link?

        Next thing you know, folks in Tacoma will complain about how long the light rail train will take to get to Seattle and want faster commuter rail instead (OK, to be fair, ST wasn’t very forthcoming about the future timetables).

      3. It’s not surprising that a popular sentiment can enthrall people to vote a certain way and ignore pesky facts. ST3 vote was a populist result that may have failed if more realism had been presented and debated. The Ballard/SLU alignment was never even studied for potential flaws, for example!

        We are now where we are, with predictable neighborhood morning-after advocacy. Things cannot be resolved without sufficient analysis and debate. Of course, there is also this push to fast-track a preferred alternative without these evaluations. So we are now left with our version of a Trump Border Wall approach: we must build it without objectively considering cost, benefit and design. This could easily repeat the monorail saga if we aren’t willing to look more objectively before committing.

      4. The one thing Sound Transit can’t or won’t do is go far above the ballot-measure budget to add tunnel enhancements. That was the purpose of the budget and the system plan concept, to put a ceiling on the budget and describe what it could afford. That’s why we encouraged ST to make it high enough to possibly cover a Ship Canal tunnel, because you can always spend less than you budgeted if you decide not to build a tunnel after all. West Seattle said, “We want light rail! Not buses! Rail!!”, so ST found a way to squeeze elevated rail through expensive terrain to the least-dense rail area of Seattle. Now it wants another few billion dollars for tunnels, as if the existing North King projects aren’t already a very tight fit, in an uncertain federal landscape. ST will go a little over if something almost fits or cost overruns occur, but it won’t go hog-wild adding major enhancements that weren’t in the ballot measure.

      5. I’ve been waiting for months for someone to complain that it was going to be too ugly/noisy. I am sure we will be seeing more of it in the future as the media is always looking to make tragedy out of anything they can find.

  3. Mike Lindblom’s Seattle Times article on One Center City in the actual printed Sunday paper had different, often more detailed, graphics than the slick online version. The one that caught my eye was for the “new bus stops” at Husky Stadium, which show a third northbound lane for the bus stops and then reconfiguring the intersection of Montlake Blvd and NE Pacific Place to allow NB left turns onto Pacific Place so buses can go west after dropping off at the new bus stops. I tweeted Lindblom, asking if the UW really was willing to make space for a third NB lane, and he replied that the idea is instead to repurpose most of the SB left turn lane into the Husky Stadium Parking lot into a NB lane which would make room for the bus lane. That left turn lane isn’t all that long, and there isn’t much room for buses to pull out of the proposed new bus stop and get across two lanes to turn left. Will be interesting to see if this goes anywhere.

    1. There is TONS of room on the west side of Montlake between the street and BGT and also on the east side between the road and the stadium. Sadly, there is no interest from anyone, including UW and WSDOT, in making worthwhile investments in this corridor. Really frustrating. Put a crappy above ground station on the opposite side of the road from 99% of trip arrivals/destinations and no good way to get to/from the station. Just plain sick of the walk in the rain down Rainier Vista with small kids and/or luggage…

      1. My dream is to have Montlake Boulevard rerouted to split around UW Station (northbound east of the station between the station and stadium, and southbound west of the station between the station and Montlake triangle). Buses could use the center lanes of this configuration to serve the station directly while also being able to loop around the station to turn around. It will never happen but it would help big time for transfers something the current station fails miserably at.

        Logically the worthless AIA gave the UW station a design award with this terrible design because all they care about is aesthetics and as true out-of-touch architects they could care less about user experience.

    2. How recent was that article; I’ll see if my mom still has it. I don’t recall any specific transit-related proposals, much less anything for UW Station. Just a map showing where all the bottleneck projects would be.

    3. P.S. The Times’ search engine is practically useless. Searching for “Lindblom One Center City” or “Lindblom” or “One Center City” didn’t bring up anything related. I’ve had this problem several times before.

      1. Yeah, search “seattletimes.com: one center city” in google instead. Haven’t bothered using the Times own search function in years.

    4. Yeah, I noticed that too (from the paper). It was the first I’ve heard of it. I like it, just for the general idea. If the UW won’t cooperate, it sounds like SDOT will go ahead and do things on its own. Personally I think they should play hardball, and just make it very difficult to use that parking lot. Right now if a doctor from Laurelhurst wants to use the parking lot, the southbound turn lane is quite handy. But is it really necessary? During game days, you have cops waving people this way and that. The rest of the time, a driver should just go around. Make a series of right turns, and loop around, like so: https://goo.gl/maps/SBYrDTPRasv. Left turns in general on a busy street are a bad idea, and the city is well within it’s right to make that change. If you eliminate that south bound turn lane, there is plenty of room for a northbound bus lane and bus stops there, right next to the station: https://goo.gl/maps/EBMAR9d4KLU2.

      Of course you could keep the existing south bound turn lane, and most of the parking lot, if you simply allowed buses to use the UW parking lot, next to the station. Your choice, UW. Go ahead and ask the doctor who lives in Laurelhurst what he thinks.

    5. Still, if this works, this will massively improve the transfer situation at UW.

      In pipe-dream land, I wonder if it makes sense to turn the Triangle into a giant roundabout.

      1. Yes but it doesn’t address the transfers from southbound buses rolling in from NE Seattle. They are still stuck up on campus regardless of whether or not the southbound left turn lane into the stadium parking lot is repurposed into a northbound stop. The fix Montlake needs is to add a third southbound bus-only lane between Montlake and the BGT. Buses proceed through campus now because southbound Montlake is a parking lot for several hours a day.

        Great for 520 xfers, though. The rest of us catching a bus in NE Seattle will continue to pay for UW’s selfishness.

      2. I’m not sure if we can blame UW for that. Adding another lane to Montlake Boulevard (between NE 45th and NE Pacific Place, if I understand your proposal correctly) would not be that easy. You have to cut into the hillside (next to the Burke Gilman) and also rebuild three pedestrian bridges. It may have nothing to do with the UW, in that the land may be the city’s. It is between a public pathway (the Burke) and the street. Just as the city owns the land between the sidewalk and the street, it probably owns that land as well. But between shoring up the hillside and rebuilding three old pedestrian bridges, that isn’t that cheap.

        In the long run, it isn’t clear whether you want or need so many buses headed to that end of campus, anyway. Right now it makes sense, because that is where Link is. But when the station is added in the U-District, you will see buses sent there. The 44 will be re-branded as a RapidRide line, and end somewhere near Children’s. There will be frequent (and hopefully reasonably fast) bus service along 65th. Just how many people will then want to go to Husky Stadium? If you can choose between the 62 and 75 (or 65) and choose the latter, most likely you are headed to campus, so you want the campus routing. It is also quite possible that some of the buses don’t follow the current path. If the point is to simply end close to a Link station, then it might make sense to have the 65 and 75 follow the new 44 on NE 45th Street, and end somewhere close to the U-District station. That would leave the 372 as the only bus heading south there, and I wouldn’t want to do that much work on the street just for that one bus.

        In contrast, the Husky Stadium station is very important for buses serving SR 520, Montlake (and 23rd) as well as the south end of campus (the parts that are a bit too far to walk, yet still closer to that station versus in the U-District). In all cases (but especially Montlake, northeast Seattle, and other parts of campus) the problem is the location of the station itself, not the parking lot. If the station was *in* the triangle, not on the far end, we wouldn’t have this issue (and a campus routing would be fine, if not ideal for buses like the 372, 65 and 75). But that ship sailed a long, long time ago.

      3. If the all-day 520 buses continue to the U-District rather than terminating at UW Station, there will be a closer transfer to the other routes there.

      4. >> If the all-day 520 buses continue to the U-District rather than terminating at UW Station, there will be a closer transfer to the other routes there.

        Not really. Google suggests going right by UW station before getting to the U-District station:
        https://goo.gl/maps/oq8vcMaJZdu

        I’m not saying that routing makes sense (it doesn’t). But it means that by the time a bus gets to the U-District station, a rider will have crossed the street and made their way well inside the UW station (and probably boarded a train). Since the vast majority of riders will be heading south, most would prefer to get off the bus and start walking to the station, rather than wait until the bus gets to 45th.

        It also means running the bus the other direction doesn’t make sense. The main reason the bus serves both the station and the U-District is so that it can serve both ends of campus. If you do that, then it makes sense to go to Husky Stadium first, as that is the fastest way for people to connect to Link. The only argument that could be used for going the other way is to avoid the bridge opening, but don’t think that is worth it. The ship canal is congested most of the day. At 3:00 in the afternoon, for example, it is common to see southbound traffic at a standstill there (and there are no advantages for transit).

      5. I’m talking about the Stevens Way routes, the 75, 372, and westbound 67. They can’t get to the new bus stops without a huge reconfiguration that would mess up travelers going east-west or to campus.

    6. Thanks Robert – the possible bus lane alongside Husky Stadium would be a bold move, which is why folks can’t be sure it will actually happen.

      As for the search function, yes, it’s been a problem for years. Everybody in the newsroom and senior managers know this, and for the most part use the major web-search engines, while typing “seattle times” in the keywords.

      1. Hey Mike, thanks for the comment, and keep up the great work. I was a bit skeptical of the whole “Traffic Lab” thing at first, but you and your colleagues are doing an outstanding job. I really like it, and one of the many reason why I keep subscribing to the paper.

    7. Another thought about the proposal. This will make things better, but only in one direction. Basically it, would make it great if you are coming from 520, headed to downtown. Your bus pulls up, right outside the station. Great. But what about the other direction. You can pick up the same bus, as it makes the loop, but that is a left turn, followed by another left turn, and then a right turn (before the bridge). That’s three traffic lights after the bus stop (two lefts and a right). Only one little section (next to the hospital) has bus lanes. Either you sit through all of that, or you cross the street twice to catch the bus next to the hospital. Not great for your evening commute.

      In contrast, imagine if they simply opened up the parking lot to buses. After crossing the bridge, a bus takes a right, onto Walla, Walla road. Then it parks by the station, or does a live loop. It exits at the same spot. You’ve avoided several lights, and jumped ahead of traffic.

      The UW really doesn’t have to do anything to make this possible. They don’t have to give up parking spaces, they only need to have room for a bus to turn around. I could easily see a bus doing the maneuver this way: Turn right next to the main entrance to the stadium (https://goo.gl/maps/5zECYu7xoo92). Keep going, and stop here: https://goo.gl/maps/4zShrYdE8XT2 (the bus stop would be where the ST trucks are parked). Then drive down the road, take a right and you are at Walla Walla, ready to take a left to avoid all the traffic. That wouldn’t work as layover space, but it would work quite well as a live loop. I understand why the UW hasn’t given up on the parking spots — they are a big money maker for them — but there is no reason to ban access by buses. It is not even clear if they are banned. I don’t see any signs, so I see no reason why a bus couldn’t make that exact maneuver, except for the bus stop. But if the bus stop is as suggested by the Seattle Times article, it really isn’t an issue. You get dropped off there (which is great) and then after you board, you take a loop around the parking lot. But the loop doesn’t have much congestion, and the next traffic light is the one at Walla Walla. The city would have to allow a left run there, but all that would requires is a bit of paint (change the left lane to “right only except transit”.

      As I’ve said many times, the big thing that needs to happen is that the city (and county) needs to put pressure on the UW. Like every large institution, the UW has its fiefdoms. Someone at the UW controls the parking, and they don’t want to see anything happen to their cash cow. But with a little bit of publicity (and pressure) a compromise could easily be reached by the folks above that manager, and they could allow buses (and their passengers) to save a considerable amount of time in their trip.

  4. “SR 99 tunnel might open a little early (!), but beware the final ramp connection work.”

    Lol. The original completion date was Dec 2015.
    Early? That’s rich.

    1. People care about practical things. “How soon can I use the tunnel?” Not “Is it later than some plan a decade ago said?” You can’t drive to SLU on an old piece of paper; you can only drive on an actually open tunnel.

      1. Nonsense. It’s called accuracy in reporting. One can say, for instance, that the tunnel is planned to be opened earlier than anticipated. However, saying that the tunnel might be opened “early” is simply not reflecting reality.

        Let me guess. You have also bought into ST’s narrative that U-link opened early, eh?

      2. Yes. I had long ago given up that it would help my commute in 2005 or whenever the original date was. That’s eleven lost years of my life waiting for unreliable 71/72/73Xs that got stuck on I-5 or Eastlake or Stewart at least twice a week and made me miss transfers. Getting a few months earlier than expected is one little thing that helps, and more of my life that’s unstressed.

  5. 1st great photo.

    2nd I promised I’d remind you folks why I support elected transit boards. As this is a continuing conversation, I will be acute.

    It’s no secret what I think of some if not a majority of the Sound Transit Boardmembers like Dow Constantine, Claudia Balducci and Paul Roberts. It’s also no secret I call out here Sound Transit Boardmembers who aren’t active in discussions and my desire for some who can’t get on the current Sound Transit Board to be on it. Like Seattle Subway leaders… and Mike Orr, Jessyn Farrell, Dan Ryan, and for the statewide position me.

    It’s also no secret my opinion of the other ST in our state – Skagit Transit – has me certain best thing for Skagit Transit is me on its board. Clearly pro-transit hawks are needed once you get out of the Sound Transit district.

    So I hope you understand I AM that 1 to 5% of elected board supporters who is in this to get real change in transit and real transit agency responsiveness to our concerns. I really think some of the news media have been irresponsible fanning the flames this is all a right wing plot to stop Sound Transit. Nope. More than that…

    Respectfully submitted;

    Joe

    P.S. I am taking winter vacay to the land of TransLink this weekend so if I don’t respond to all of your comments Monday, please understand.

  6. Surrey article: “Those trains are traveling at 15 km/h through [medieval city centers] because they are narrow and full of pedestrians. They can do that because they speed up in the newer areas of town and because those European towns are tiny. Three or four Strasbourgs could fit within Surrey… The reality of LRT in Surrey is that the trains will have to go well faster than 15 km/hr or else no one will ride them. And since LRT will attract fewer riders than SkyTrain, there will actually be fewer people on the street to patronize those cafes.

    That’s what I’ve been saying all along. The purpose of transit is to get people from here to there efficiently, not to saunter slowly as if on a parade float. Cars in a parade go 5 mph and stop every few blocks for a speech because that’s it’s reason for being there: to let people look at the car and its passengers and hear the speech. That’s great for a few parades a year. It’s not great for everyday commuting and shopping, especially when it accumulates to several times per week. That’s why Portland’s downtown needs a tunnel, and Jackson and Broadway need transit lanes, and so do Aurora and 45th for buses.

    But I disagree with later in the article: “Seattle has street level LRT along Martin Luther Ling Way, and it has hardly turned that street into a flaneurs’ paradise…. To make matters worse, to accommodate LRT on King George Boulevard, Surrey plans to keep it very wide.”

    The article is conflating three different things. The impact of surface rail in city centers, boulevards like MLK, and highways like King George are different. In city centers it slows mobility to biking pace. MLK is actually a good example of the century-old tradition of wide streets to give two extra lanes for streetcars. I’ve seen that in St Petersburg and Seattle still has remnants of that on Beacon Ave S, 14th Ave NW, and 8th Ave NW. I find it pleasant to have a street with two extra lanes for trains; it says that we put transit first and makes it more convenient to live there. The lack of a cozy lovely atmosphere at Columbia City Station is because of the scale of the buildings around it, not because of Link. Although the long crosswalk cycles need to go. Running it in a highway is almost like running it elevated, so the difference between it and Skytrain is even less. The problem there is the distance between stations and neighborhood centers, as 130th, 145th, 185th. and Mountlake Terrace stations show. But the article doesn’t mention any opportunities to bring Skytrain stations closer to the neighborhood centers than highway LRT can be, it just says it’s less effective. But that’s reversing the small problem and the big problem. The small problem is running 5% slower than Skytrain in a highway or 20% slower in a street like MLK. The big problem is running 75% slower in a congested city center. Eliminate surface light rail from urban centers first, then worry about it in boulevards, and only then if ever worry about it in highways where a grade-separated alternative isn’t bringing stations closer to the centers.

  7. Read the article on Surrey LRT and it honestly reminded me of what other people I know that live in the Surrey area have said to me and that they have been pretty adamant they don’t want the tram and would rather see SkyTrain. And with the only people they say who are really for this is on the city council and the mayor of surrey, and they’re really baffled as to what possessed these people to think street level LRT was a good idea.
    To me, the tram is an example of being penny wise, pound foolish with transit investment. Wherein the cost differences between SkyTrain and street level LRT seem is small at least in initial upfront costs. But in the long term, costs will be a lot higher on the LRT in comparison to it just being connected to the rest of the SkyTrain system.

    1. That’s why I’m concerned about Kevin Desmond’s position not to reconsider the LRT decision. It’s like Teresa May’s position not to put Brexit up for an immediate revote, to conffirm that it didn’t pass just because people misunderstood it or believed the false propaganda that the money saved would pay for a Health Service increase. I think it’s very unlikely it would have passed a revote. You mustn’t make a 100-year commitment based on short-term issues or misconceptions.

      1. Do the people in Surrey who don’t like the tram want the Sky Train elevated, or tunneled? Considering both the cost of structure, and the presence of pillars.

        Also, if absolutely nobody wants the light rail, how could any politician get away with insisting it get built?

        The Brooklyn Bridge was ridiculed for being so tall it could look far over church steeples. And Lord knows what might’ve happened if general public, and some other people, had known that one of the two pillars is footed on sand?

        With construction techniques of the time, project chief Roebling estimated that to dig to bedrock, as was standard, a very large number of Irish laborers would be killed.

        So he studied the sand itself, and found evidence – fossils, I think- that that particular sand had not shifted since the beginning of the world. Maybe that was what resulted in Risk Management, but by then it was too late.

        And who on EARTH needed a bridge to go to Marin County when there was excellent ferry service?

        So question I’d ask both Surrey and Teresa May: since modern streetcars started returning to the streets- how many municipalities have taken them out?

        Most likely, as population increases and densifies, Surrey will end up with both the streetcar and the Skytrain. While we’re at it, though, let’s look up public opinion of the Sky Train itself when first proposed.

        Streetcars aren’t supposed to be for speed. Though if it becomes necessary, right of way and good signals not hard to create. Main use is a smooth, comfortable, rolling sidewalk with large windows for comfortable window-shopping.

        Real hazard, though. Go to pull it out, and thousands of little boys will flood emergency rooms by holding their breath ’til they turn blue when they find out their streetcar now has rubber tires and is really a truck. Your fault when one of the little guys actually explodes.

        Mark

      2. “believed the false propaganda that the money saved would pay for a Health Service increase”

        Interesting thing here. In the UK people vote for something that they think will increase healthcare services for them and everybody. In the US people vote for politicians who say they’ll take healthcare services away from other people.

      3. Notable Conservative Winston Churchill did not oppose the creation of the NHS, despite his Tory worries about government spending:

        “The dis­cov­er­ies of heal­ing sci­ence must be the inher­i­tance of all. That is clear: Dis­ease must be attacked, whether it occurs in the poor­est or the rich­est man or woman sim­ply on the ground that it is the ene­my; and it must be attacked just in the same way as the fire brigade will give its full assis­tance to the hum­blest cot­tage as read­i­ly as to the most impor­tant mansion….Our pol­i­cy is to cre­ate a nation­al health ser­vice in order to ensure that every­body in the coun­try, irre­spec­tive of means, age, sex, or occu­pa­tion, shall have equal oppor­tu­ni­ties to ben­e­fit from the best and most up-to-date med­ical and allied ser­vices available.”

        – Excerpt from a 1944 speech to the Royal College of Physicians

      4. What the LRT proponents like is its low capital costs. The same thing has been playing out on the 99-B corridor to UBC, and with different train technologies in Toronto. Sometimes the LRT advocates get an advantage; other times the Skytrain advocates do. It’s the same issues we have in Seattle over whether to invest in Sounder or Link, grade-separated Link or surface Linkm Link or BRT.

        Vancouver built an initial Skytrain line in the 1970s and it has become the core of the network. It’s fully grade-separated, driverless, and runs every five minutes. So obviously from a mobility perspective, the right thing is to extend it everywhere. But Vancouver has people who dislike taxes too, and they support surface LRT rather than expanding Skytrain. It started earlier in the 99-B. The 99-B is a BRT line like Swift that runs every two minutes and overcrowded. It has needed a rail replacement for decades. Most people think they should obviously extend the Skytrain, which now has a line pointing in that direction and ready to go. But some support LRT for its low capital costs. As politics go up and down, LRT proposals ebb and flow.

        Note that changing modes requires a forced transfer. That’s what would happen with Surrey LRT, as it happens with Scarborough RT in Toronto. Toronto’s core network is a subway system. It has two north-south lines interlined downtown in a U shape, and an east-west line crossing it in a “midtown” area. In the 1970s when they wanted to extend high-capacity transit further east, they went with a different mode, a lower-capacity heavy rail, because it was cheaper. So everyone else can go throughout the inner Toronto region on one seamless system, but those going to one arbitrary part have to go partway and transfer to a different kind of train. The trains are now at the end of their life and have to be replaced, and there are multiple proposals whether to buy better trains, convert it to light rail, or extend the subway/ Extending the subway would cost C$1 billion more than the other alternatives.

        From a service/cost perspective, the 99-B corridor should definitely be Skytrain. I’m not so sure about Surrey because I’ve only been to downtown Surrey, and Cloverdale when it was rural. The LRT would run from downtown Surrey past the side of Cloverdale to Langley.

    2. An interesting thing I noticed about the Surrey article is the inclusion of fare gates at a rendering of a station that is very similar to our at-grade Link stations. As I’m a big believer in using these – no worries about tapping on/off, lower fare evasion rate (no way to forget to tap – if you’re in the system’s fare paid areas without having paid, you’re an evader); Mark’s oft-stated tap on/off issue goes away as either the gates open or they don’t when you tap; no worries about possibly having to tap to transfer when we have an expanded network with multiple lines – it’s clear that the “reason” we don’t do this is a red herring. It would be no less easy to avoid the gates in Surrey than on MLK – I assume that they intend to have a fare inspector/security/station attendant staff member on site at all times, which we should do as well at the very least at our handful of at-grade stations. Pretty easy for them to spot and ticket a fare evader walking around the gates at track level, as opposed to not tapping at a reader off to the side!

  8. The PSRC transportation plan update is open for comments through January 31. Guess what the
    Seattle Times editorial board ($) thinks of it.

    “If you like how Seattle plans for traffic congestion, you’ll love the new regional transportation plan that the Puget Sound Regional Council is developing. A draft version of the plan includes controversial measures such as tolling roads across the region and adding per-mile driving fees. These measures are intended to both raise revenue and give government more tools to manipulate where and when people drive…. Inside players, including Seattle anti-car activists [link to earlier editorial ($) about Transportation Choices Coalition] recognize its importance. They lobby the PSRC to shape policy and the criteria it uses to divvy up federal transportation grants. For instance, the state is just starting to study per-mile driving fees… But by making these fees a cornerstone of the regional transportation plan, the PSRC pushes them toward certainty…. Freeway congestion in the central Puget Sound region is growing at a rate much greater than population growth … Inrix estimated thesCitywide, the cost was $1.9 billion. Regional transportation plans and project rankings should factor the cost of congestion and time spent on slower modes of travel.e delays cost Seattle drivers $1,590 on average that year. Instead, the PSRC gives more weight to transportation projects that “eliminate vehicle trips” than to projects that “improve traffic flow.”

    Never mind measuring people’s mobility rather than cars’ mobility, and filling in non-car services in areas that lack it.

  9. Yaay! Seattle-area rents drop significantly for first time this decade ($)

    “The biggest rent decreases were mostly in the popular Seattle neighborhoods that are getting the most new apartments. Rents dipped more than 6 percent compared with the prior quarter in First Hill, downtown Seattle, Belltown, South Lake Union and Ballard, along with Redmond and the Sammamish/Issaquah area…. The vacancy rate across the region grew 0.8 percentage points to 5.4 percent in December — the highest since 2010 — a sign that supply has outgained demand…”

    “Overall, there are 24,500 apartments under construction now across King and Snohomish counties. There are an additional 35,000 units in the pipeline, although not all of those will get built.”

    “Among the brand-new buildings in South Lake Union, about one-third of apartments are sitting empty. And in the core of downtown, about two-thirds of newly opened apartments are vacant.”

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