This is an open thread.
What are some good trips using transit from Tacoma that take only a few hours (including time on buses)?
If you’re already in Tacoma to start with, Point Defiance is a good one. If you really want to get fancy, you can try riding the ferry to Vashon Island, and do some more bus riding over there.
Point Defiance is probably best although I haven’t been there for many years. If you like city walking tours, you can start from the 9th & Commerce bus stop, go into Sanford & Son antique shop, walk through the store up three stories to the Broadway exit, and go up and down Broadway. Pantages Theater is a block south; the Spanish Steps a few blocks north. From there you can go west to Wright Park. Then north up I street (the west side of the park) and further past Division Ave to some nice houses and mansions. Or go up and down MLK and see the Tacoma Link extension route. If you can time Sounder you can go to Puyallup and see downtown and the farmland very close to it. (I’ve only seen it passing through on Sounder.)
Or you can do the Tour de Link: take the 574 to SeaTac, Link to say Rainier Valley, wander around Othello or Columbia City (three blocks east of the station) or Beacon Hill and then come back. (I would say go to UW and stop somewhere on the way back, but that would be 4+ hours.) Or if you want to see bus suburbia you can take PT 501 to Federal Way, the A to Angle Lake, and Link.
PT 500. I forgot to double-check which one was the 500 vs 501.
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! :)
I left out downtown Seattle because I assumed you’d already seen enough of that, but maybe I shouldn’t make that assumption. What I would do on a transit trip from Tacoma is take Sounder all the way to Seattle, and Link and buses back. Then you can see the aforementioned center of Puyallup, and also Sumner, Auburn, and Kent,the protected agricultural land between Auburn and Kent, and the backs of the warehouses and houses and rail yards which show more of “real working America” than the view from the Interstates. The trip each way is an hour on Sounder or the 594, and 1.5-2 hours with Link and buses depending on which bus and the transfer time. So that gives possibly an hour to spend in the International District (e.g., Uwagimaya, Hing Hay Park), go further to Pike Place Market or Seattle Center, or immediately turn around and stopover in Beacon or Rainier.
There’s a decent trail network in DuPont, some of which uses the old roadbed from the explosives factory railroad. It means working around the limited schedule offered by SoundTransit 592.
I’ll second Point Defiance. The park is huge (bigger even than Discovery Park), and you get some amazing views of Rainier from the beach when it’s clear. Even if it’s not clear, the Sound and surrounding islands are impressive. If you get hungry and didn’t pack food, I highly recommend checking out the Antique Sandwich Co (N 51st & Pearl) – they have some delicious food and coffee, and the 11 stops just across the street to take you back to downtown Tacoma.
ST 574 to Sea-Tac, LINK to IDS, LINK to IDS, 550 to Bellevue Transit Center. On nice days, totally rad view of Mt. Rainier from I-90 floating bridge.
But have lost track- Since I’m helping a new STB writer, please somebody be sure I’m right. Is 550 still in the Tunnel?
Or: Same as above, except LINK to Westlake, King County Metro Route 70 to 15th Ave. in U-District, Route 44 to Ballard Locks.
Return to Downtown Seattle from Market and 24th in Ballard business district, Route 40 to Downtown Seattle. For faster ride back to Tacoma, ST route 594 from Stewart between Fourth and Third to Tacoma.
Get some confirmation, Bob. It’s been awhile.
“Orphan Road: The Railroad Comes to Seattle: 1853-1911” by Kurt E Armbruster is a book I saw Saturday at Costco. I haven’t read it but it looks like a good history and has some pictures and exhibits.
On page 166 is a 1910 train timetable. Twenty-nine trains depart King Street Station daily to Spokane, Bellingham, Vancouver, the Olympic Penninsula, etc. Most of them have train names rather than cities so it’s hard to tell where they go, and the schedule doesn’t specify AM/PM so I’m not sure if these are all daytime or some are evening. A few are marked “Owl”, such as “Owl to Vancouver” (which Vancouver?). There are also trains from S Dearborn Street & 1st Ave S: three trains are listed and it says “All trains for Portland”. So either that means only three trains a day go to Portland (which is odd because Spokane has more), or the other Portland trains aren’t listed. There’s also a depot at the foot of Washington Street, with six trains (although two of those are weekend only). There’s no mention of Union Station. Maybe it was already closed by then.
Have read that both Tacoma and Port Townsend really thought they’d be Washington State’s main city. Also that Port Townsend built its tall (for those days) brick buildings in that expectation.
Current real estate situation in Seattle might in fact drive so many people elsewhere that both the other cities will soon be correct in their expectations. Hopefully putting Ballard back in my price range.
There are copies of the old railroad timetables online. The 1910 Official Rail Guide is here: http://cprr.org/Museum/Official_Rail_Guide_1910.html
It takes a bit of research to figure out local schedules because the schedules are arranged by railroad rather than city, but with some digging, you can find out where all the trains are coming from and going to.
1908 was the first year trains to Portland by the Columbia River Bridge was possible, so it’s possible traffic levels hadn’t been built up by then.
Also, “Orphan Road” usually refers to the Seattle built railroad that went to Tacoma. At that time Tacoma was the big railroad terminal (which is why Seattle built its own railroad to go there) so if you wanted some other schedule you could change trains there.
Union Station wasn’t finished until 1911, and those would have been the Milwaukee Road and Union Pacific trains. Northern Pacific and Great Northern trains would have been operated out of King Street.
When and why did Union Station close?
According to Wikipedia, 30 April 1971, the day before Union Pacific’s passenger services were taken up by Amtrak (which, then as now, served only King Street Station.)
Union Station was built with tracks only pointing south, so when the consolidation to Amtrak happened it had to be King Street, which has access to the ex-Great Northern line going north.
Also, where all the platform tracks used to be is valuable real estate.
Union Station didn’t open until 1911, so the 1910 schedule would be for King Street Station only.
“Port Townsend really thought they’d be Washington State’s main city. [It] built its tall (for those days) brick buildings in that expectation.”
That sounds familiar. There’s a couple in Port Townsend who live like it’s 1885. They have a Victorian house, filled with antique furniture, they don’t use their electricity, they wear homemade clothes based on 1880s patterns, spend their evenings reading 1880s magazines, ride 1880s bicycles, and try as much as feasible to buy from neighborhood shops mainly things that were available at that time. There’s a book about it but I don’t remember the title. At one point the woman rode her 1880s bike wearing her 1880s clothes from Port Townsend to Vancouver BC to visit someone. As such she had to cross the Deception Pass bridge and the Canadian border, but she succeeded. And they’re not steampunk. thank you very much. They visited some steampunk events and found them not dedicated enough for their taste.
Many of the small towns in Washington that have not grown have retained their pre-WWII building stock. Port Townsend is one although I’ve never been there. Aberdeen is another, which I visited a few summers ago. The decline of logging broke the economy in these towns. That was bad for unemployment, but it had one advantage of protecting them from the carnage of postwar modern architecture and land design. So they retain good bones that can be revitalized if the opportunity comes. Port Townsend has found a second life among artsy types and old-town aficionados, to the point that its houses are full and prices are rising and it will have to do something to avoid turning into an exclusive rich-people’s place.
Aberdeen is still depressed because it’s so isolated. There are buses to Olympia (7/day weekdays, 3/day weekends), but Olympia has a limited variety of jobs. The town can only support a limited number of local businesses. Tourism is one plus, with the beaches in summer and now Kurt Cobain pilgrims. There’s a recently-built waterfront promenade that goes a couple miles. And scores of prewar houses and buildings, some waiting for a use. But it would be difficult to live there unless you work at home or in one of the nearby industries. And Highway 101 is like a slash across the city center: several lanes wide and full of traffic. And some of the buildings have excessive setbacks, as was common in the US, stretching out walking distances further.
One thing that Port Townsend couple write about is that when they use 1880s things, they learn more about the context in which they were originally used. For instance, oil lamps and chamber pots have recesses in their handles to make holding them easier, and you have to hold the lamp right to keep it from spilling oil on the stairs (which is a fire hazard). Iceboxes assume a weekly delivery of ice and milk and meat. And things were built better and more solid (which is why they lasted a hundred years and are still usable). And some things that seem inconvenient or useless in isolation, were more convenient in the context of a society that supported them. For instance, there are no more ice deliveries, only a few stores sell ice, mainly for parties, so it’s in bags of cubes near melting point rather than solidly-frozen blocks. The couple has dilemmas like whether the ice keeps the milk and meat cold enough to be safe or whether they really must get a refrigerator.
The 1910 railroad guide shows the Great Northern offering 3 trains a day between Seattle and Portland: an 800am departure that arrived at 400pm, a 115pm departure that arrived at 835pm, a 410pm departure that arrived at 1030pm. The Great Northern also had 4 daily trains to Vancouver BC and 1 train to Bellingham. The 4 trains to Vancouver made 11, 19, 36 or 38 stops along the journey.
The GN had 4 trains to Spokane via Everett: a 900am departure that continued to St. Paul, a 515pm departure, a 710pm departure that continued to Chicago, a 1000pm departure that continued to Kansas City.
The Northern Pacific also had 4 daily trains to Spokane via Auburn and Ellensburg: an 845am train that continued to Chicago, a 400pm train that continued to St. Louis, a 710pm train that continued to St. Paul, a 930pm train that continued to St. Paul.
The NP had a group of 7 daily trains that went to Auburn, Tacoma or Aberdeen.
There also were 6 other trains that served smaller communities in the area.
730am to Everett, Granite Falls and eventually Monte Cristo
740am to Arlington and Darrington
740am to Fremont, Woodinville and Bellingham
1025am to Woodinville, Sumas and Vancouver BC
420pm to Fremont, Woodinville and Bellingham
425pm to Black River Jct, Kirkland, Issaquah, North Bend
Altogether, that’s 29 daily trains.
That doesn’t seem like it would be a complete list. During that era Portland Union Station had approximately 200, though most of those were unnamed locals.
I’ll see if I am able to find my copy of the departure paper from that era. It’s two pages of something like 4 point type.
I have that book, Mike – highly recommended. All of you just reminded me to have another read through it – it’s been a few years!
“The Legislature must fix the flawed vehicle valuation formula used by Sound Transit. This can be done without jeopardizing work to expand bus and passenger-rail service in the Puget Sound region.”
The Legislature must fix the flawed vehicle valuation formula used by Sound Transit which they forced Sound Transit to use.
Fixed it for them. Also, I’m not convinced their plans of “Just use the contingency funds! Or rely on economic improvement!” are dependable.
Lol. Ok. Whatever.
The relevant section of the authorizing bill as introduced to the Transportation Committee in the state senate:
Sec. 310. RCW 81.104.160 and 2010 c 161 s 903 are each amended
to read as follows:
(1) Regional transit authorities that include a county with a population of more than one million five hundred thousand may submit an authorizing proposition to the voters, and if approved, may levy and collect an excise tax, at a rate approved by the voters, but not exceeding three-tenths of one percent on the value, under chapter 82.44 RCW, of every motor vehicle owned by a resident of the taxing district, solely for the purpose of providing high capacity transportation service. The maximum tax rate under this subsection does not include a motor vehicle excise tax approved before the effective date of this section if the tax will terminate on the date bond debt to which the tax is pledged is repaid. This tax does not
apply to vehicles licensed under RCW 46.16A.455 except vehicles with an unladen weight of six thousand pounds or less, RCW 46.16A.425 or 46.17.335(2). Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection or chapter 82.44 RCW, a motor vehicle excise tax imposed by a regional transit authority before or after the effective date of this section must comply with chapter 82.44 RCW as it existed on January 1, 1996, until December 31st of the year in which the regional transit authority repays bond debt to which a motor vehicle excise tax was pledged before the effective date of this section. Motor vehicle taxes collected by regional transit authorities after December 31st of the year in which a regional transit authority repays bond debt to which a motor vehicle excise tax was pledged before the effective date of this section must comply with chapter
82.44 RCW as it existed on the date the tax was approved by voters.
And here’s the same relevant section of the authorizing bill as passed by the legislature and signed into law by the governor:
Sec. 319. RCW 81.104.160 and 2010 c 161 s 903 are each amended
to read as follows:
(1) Regional transit authorities that include a county with a population of more than one million five hundred thousand may submit an authorizing proposition to the voters, and if approved, may levy and collect an excise tax, at a rate approved by the voters, but not exceeding eight-tenths of one percent on the value, under chapter 82.44 RCW, of every motor vehicle owned by a resident of the taxing district, solely for the purpose of providing high capacity transportation service. The maximum tax rate under this subsection does not include a motor vehicle excise tax approved before the effective date of this section if the tax will terminate on the date bond debt to which the tax is pledged is repaid. This tax does not apply to vehicles licensed under RCW 46.16A.455 except vehicles with an unladen weight of six thousand pounds or less, RCW 46.16A.425 or 46.17.335(2). Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection or chapter 82.44 RCW, a motor vehicle excise tax imposed by a regional transit authority before or after the effective date of this section must comply with chapter 82.44 RCW as it existed on January 1, 1996, until December 31st of the year in which the regional transit authority repays bond debt to which a motor vehicle excise tax was pledged before the effective date of this section. Motor vehicle taxes collected by regional transit authorities after December 31st of the year in which a regional transit authority repays bond debt to which a motor vehicle excise tax was pledged before the effective date of this section must comply with chapter 82.44 RCW as it existed on the date the tax was approved by voters.
(Notice the change from .3 to .8 percent in the second engrossed substitute bill.)
“Just use the contingency funds!”
Aren’t contingency funds supposed to be for, um, contingencies like cost overruns? You’d think the legislature would try to minimize contingencies, not artificially create faux hurricanes.
I agree with the spirit of defiance energizing the Tiny House movement. Greatest thing would be finally getting into a position where my neighbors and I could pack zoning commission meetings about the damage our neighborhoods will suffer an epidemic of terminal yawning from present regular home styles.
That not only look like they were built for aliens trying to imitate humans while eating insulation washed down with canned beer like the Coneheads. But much worse, making the whole country look exactly like the very parts of San Jose that VTA light rail goes through.
But for me, another statement can be read into the Tiny Homes, probably major unintended: That this is a way to get our people used to diminished expectations in every area of our lives. Though more I think, there’s a worse phenomenon in sight.
A veteran on the losing side of the T.H. victory, maybe named J.R. jr., instead of J.B. will convince a the whole world’s hyper-trillionaires to shove helpless Great Danes out of their homes, without even being able to take their chew-bones and blankets with them.
And then, too rich to have owners in addition to not being subject to dog-oriented sanitary waste restrictions, will use their wealth and obnoxiousness to bully the zoning commission into letting them drive the despairing Tiny House people into South Lake Union.
My parents had a small-medium size Airstream trailer for awhile. Beautifully designed to the inch for comfort. Also tough, and easy to tow. Would not mind at all finishing my life living in one of those. Or living next to one, either. And as long as Kakao cafe doesn’t die like Moka’s, even live in Lake Union.
Or throwing sticks for J.R. and his dad J.B. to chase. But while I’ve done some things I regret, I’d never do this to a girl:
Especially this one:
But some valuable history:
Wonder if they’d bid for buses and light rail?
Tiny houses come out of the “small is beautiful” movement: trying to avoid unnecessary clutter in their lives, eliminate the work of maintaining a large house to have more time for other things, own an inexpensive house outright without a mortgage, live in a house you built yourself, and/or spend more time outdoors (some people have a vegetable garden next to their house, land for their dog to play in, and forests and streams to walk through). One high schooler built one in his backyard and intended to take it to college and then to wherever he’d live after that,
I was interested in it until I realized my apartment was the size of a tiny house, so how much would I gain? And the tiny house movement hasn’t yet found a way to scale to multifamily density. There are tiny house villages — several houses in a lot — but they’re still one-story houses (or one-plus-loft), so their density doesn’t scale to a large city neighborhood.
It is interesting that tiny house villages and trailer parks have the same size and shape, yet have opposite social status or attitude, but still get dragged down by the historical nimby stigma against trailers. Part of the reason tiny houses may look ugly is zoning restrictions: in most places a house can’t be that small, so they’re classified as mobile homes and must have wheels. But wheels aren’t necessary for mobility: they can be transported on a flatbed truck. You wouldn’t want to do that for vacation getaways, but you can if you only move the house every few years.
As for electricity, water, and sewer, some people tap into the main house’s electricity, and use the main house for bathroom and shower. Others use a composting toilet, wet bathroom, and storage tank. Others shower at their gym. Others get full utility hookups like a full-sized house. Others have propane heaters and stoves. Others are in rural areas and set it up off the grid like other rural cabins.
Didn’t mean any real harm, Mike. The particular style of these houses wouldn’t appeal to me if they were full-sized- incidentally, is “Tiny House ” a trade-mark here? And I really wonder how much space and comfort has been sacrificed for that particular appearance.
I really would like to see comparisons for both cost and comfort between these little houses and the Airstream trailers beside them. I’m pretty sure the first Airstreams could be moved by hand.
And know from experience- I drove our family car towing one- that they handle beautifully on the highway. Also wonder how serious the neighbors’ objection is to a trailer park full of these machines. Though have to admit that may also because only people of neighbor’ same income can own one.
I really would look to Airstream’s construction and design for durability, usable space, and mobility for the kind of life Alexis and her friends are legitimately looking for. But this brings me to another need for which these exact trailers would be perfect.
Already fully constructed, beds, stoves, even toilets and all. Moved into place by a couple of dozen people at most. And usable for years, for both temporary and permanent tenants. Including sold on the open market. For a very long lifetime.
Boeing still builds planes at Everett, doesn’t it? Who’s City Council member in charge of this matter? Would be surprised in the Mayor doesn’t move in same circles Boeing management.
I’ll become homeless if it gets me an Airstream.
Those things are expensive!
I have a hard time seeing tiny houses ever surpassing a tiny niche. However, I think there is a lot of upside for more compact homes, clustered “cottages” and so on. Suburban McMansions have so much wasted space it’s sickening really, and I’d love to see us find ways to rein that in without having to go to the extremes of tiny houses, which will never appeal to the average homebuyer. However, they can provide a proof of concept for more compact living, I suppose.
There’s no official size limit for tiny houses but the ones I’ve heard of range from 55 sq ft to 600 sq ft, so there’s quite a difference. The smallest ones can have only a partial bathroom, while the larger ones can have a 7′ kitchen counter if the owner prioritizes cooking (as I would). In comparison, my studio apartment was 348 sql ft, and my current 1BR is 650 sq ft. There’s an apartment building on Summit & Roy (the Ben Lomond) that has 900 sq ft units.
The movement came out of a book, “The Not-So-Large House”, which were actually larger than tiny houses (800-1200 sq ft), but it inspired people to think even smaller.
These mid-sized houses were are not unusual over the 19th and 20th centuries. 1950s houses were typically in the 800-900 sq ft range. I visited a friend’s parent’s house in southeast Brooklyn (Flatbush) which was 700-800 sq fit. That was the size of the Levittown-era units that people in the 1950s were jumping for joy over. It had a small living room, two bedrooms, and a small kitchen, for three or four people. European houses and townhouses are similar. My grandmother lived in a cottage smaller than that. My dad grew up on 50 acres with a farmhouse and a cottage. I don’t know who lived in the cottage originally, but by the time I was in kindergarten they had sold everything else off and my grandmother lived alone in the cottage. (It’s now torn down for a high school parking lot.)
So houses in the 600s-800s were common through the 1950s. Then the average lot size doubled and new houses broke 1000 and kept climbing, to 1500, 2000, 2500, and some are 3000 sq ft. So the issue is not that small and tiny houses are new, but that our society got amnesia about them over the past forty years, and in most places they’re too small for zoning. So that made small and tiny houses “new” to the 2000s generation.
Tiny houses will always be a niche, but they’re versatile and can range from a custom-built house with hand-selected materials, to ADUs and short-term rentals like one in West Seattle (Highland Park), to prefab homeless housing like the Othello village. The problem, and the reason I’m so verbose about this, is that the only kind that get publicized in the mass media are the homeless housing. This gives the impression that they’re the only kind or main kind, and feed into the low-class trailer-park stereotype that most alarms NIMBYs, and that can become a way to dismiss the possibility of other tiny houses entirely. But the are something a fair number of people want, or would want if they see a high-quality one, and they would alleviate our housing shortage partly and offer lower-cost options.
As to this being a way to engineer people into smaller houses generally — smaller but the same price — to the extent that it does that, it’s just reversing the dramatic inflation in house sizes over the last four decades.
Just FYI: “The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live” by Sarah Susanka (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Susanka)
Excellent book. I bought it in about 2000, at the same time I bought my ~1000sf home. I thought it would be a guide for remodel/repair work I was doing at the time (there are some ideas about that, too). It completely changed my philosophy on homes, necessary space, etc, and probably jump-started my thoughts on urban living, transit use, walkability/bikeability, etc. One of the most impactful books I’ve picked up under false assumptions.
My critique of the tiny house movement now is that there is a fetishization of “tiny house in the forrest”, “tiny house on the prairie”, and living off the grid. (I know, not all of them fall into this.) There are no favors being done for society if you go build on virgin land, 30 miles from town, install a self-serving garden/ranch, and drive-commute or isolate yourself. Just a different kind of mansion, IMO. I’m all for it for infill (hopefully during transition to multi-story.)
People are being driven to rural areas by zoning restrictions in cities and suburbs: they have to choose between living in a city and having a tiny house. Some people thrive in rural areas with access to the land, and they should be there. What we need to do is give those who want to live in a tiny house in a city or suburb in their own metropolitan area the opportunity to do so, to increase the variety of housing choices.
Incidentally, don’t like the term “homeless”, so didn’t use it. But this could be one of the best things about using trailers like these for the housing Seattle is really desperate for. Compared to street side scene now, doubt anybody would use the word “Trash”.
Cost-wise, they don’t have to be made by Airstream itself. Would bet Boeing has done some more ground transportation than the MUNI Vertols of the past. But from extremely direct and very personal experience right now.
Could take a lot of the terror out of an economic situation where a lot of people who are not poor might still have no choice but be ready to move on very short notice. Not bad for problems only slightly less bad than current prices, either. Tectonic faults bat last, and always out of the park.
Was afraid of that, Jim. One reason I suggested talking with Boeing. And some newer manufacturers as well. Very likely that Airstream has a de facto monopoly on those exact trailers now.
When we had ours in the 1970’s, heard that the original Airstream was bought out by Beatrice Creameries- doubtless same technology for milk-tankers semi’s.
Afficionados said change wasn’t beneficial. Ours was an older model, tough as a tank. Not the milk ones. But since even jetliners are largely carbon-fiber now, new trailer with same good qualities can be back in range again.
Q1: When does a 3-minute light rail trip take longer than a 15-minute bus trip?
A1: When there’s a 13-minute wait for the train and a 5-minute transfer walk after it. (To be fair, I don’t know how long the bus wait would have been, nominally up to 12 minutes.)
Q2: When does it take 45 minutes to get from 65th & Roosevelt to Capitol Hill Station?
A1: Apparently every day. I do this trip occasionally and don’t normally time it, but today I timed it. The 67 had a typical number of stops and speed; i.e., not as fast as future RapidRide’s potential, and the Link wait was a typical 8 minutes. (PS. When Northgate Link opens, the nominal travel time will be 12 minutes if I remember.)
Also, Link had some unusually long waits today, Both directions were midday during the nominal 10-minute frequency. But northbound had a 13-minute wait. Southbound was normal, but the next trains were listed as 20, 26, and 36 minutes later. Of course, the real-time display is sometimes wrong and a train departs much sooner, but for the past few months it has been accurate in my experience.
PS. The second trip is without initial waiting. I timed it from the 67’s departure to when I got out of CH station.
Thoughts on Pike/Pine, Olive/John, and Broadway.
The U-Link restructure moved the 10 to Olive Way. We weren’t sure what the effects of the restructure would be, or whether the 10 should have moved, but Metro and I wanted to keep frequent service on Olive/John just in case it would otherwise cause underservice in a successful dense village. The actual result was that a substantial fraction of 10 riders switched to the 11, and the 10’s ridership is lower than either the old 10 or the 43.
Metro’s Madison RapidRide restructure plans to delete the 11 and 49, move the 2 to Pike/Pine-12th-Union, and replace Broadway with a north-south route (probably 49/36 or 49/60 but on 12th Ave south of Denny). This will break the popular trip patterns of Pine-Broadway and Pine-Madison. That could make transit in the urban village less convenient, especially Pine Street to the northern Broadway shopping district and beyond.
However, it occurred to me today that it may end up being a sleeper hit for the 10, because the 10 stops closer to the northern shopping district than the 2 would. That in turn could give reasion for more frequency on the 10 (currently 15 minutes). Or maybe more people will switch to Link+walk or Link+the north-south route. But that’s only feasible if you’re starting from near Westlake station.
As for Pine-Madison, the 2 will serve 17th & Madison well enough, stopping two flat blocks away. But it won’t serve MLK & Madison, which is rather a long hilly walk I think, so that would be a loss. I assume the 2 will be at 7.5 minute frequency to meet demand, and because previous Metro proposals for the 3S and maybe the 2S and 12 were at that level. Maybe Metro would even be able to bump it up to 5 minutes, our first 5-minute corridor.
Stone Way has gotten a lot of TOD in a short time. How well is the neighborhood working, and how well do the 62 and 28 meet its needs? I imagine Fremont and 45th are popular destionations/transfer points, as well as Greenlake and Roosevelt, and that the 26 is welcome faster service to downtown (even though it stops only at 40th). I’m less sure how important it is to connect Stone Way to Dexter, Latona, Northgate, and Sand Point, or whether any corridors are missing.
Stone Way service has a lot of variety to it. Sometimes it is a quick trip to downtown, the U District, Ballard, Roosevelt, and Green Lake. Sometimes there are three or even four 62s in a row coming out of downtown around 6:00 or 6:30 pm weekdays. Sometimes the 31/32 is 20 or 25 minutes late because of a bridge opening. The fragility of the system is frequently on display.
Capacity seems fine. The 26 and 62 are well-populated during rush hours and the articulated buses are welcome. The 31 and 32 are pretty heavy, too, and could use more artics, but just for the U. Village-Fremont stretch. The routes are long and prone to delays. The 75-31/32 through-routing seems to have grown long in the tooth. I’m looking at you, Montlake Blvd. delays and Fremont bridge delays affecting the other part of the through-route.
Perhaps Metro would entertain moving the 31/32 off Wallingford Av. back to Stone Way between 40th and 35th. That would seem to better serve all the apartment buildings.
My definition of TOD is more lenient than some others so I’ll explain it: a 4+story building next to a frequent transit stop, with its entrance oriented to be a short, convenient, pleasant walk to it, without excessive setbacks or large front parking lots that scream “Cars first!” or “Open space before pedestrians!” or “We’ve Le Corbusierian!” Of course ground-floor retail is preferred, but I wouldn’t expect every single building to have that, just at least half of them. And not every building can be right next to the stop, so also the surrounding buildings for a couple blocks if they’re in that style. And non-residential buildings can be TOD too, for instance a compact shopping mall like one I saw in San Diego.
This is contrasted with transit-ready development and transit-adjacent development. Transit-ready development is like the above but the transit is lacking, such as when Reston Town Center was first built, to try to entice a subway to come to it. Transit-adjacent development is a similar dense building but its front door is located on an inconvenient side away from the transit stop, making an excessively long walk to it. For instance, the miles of six-story apartments on the Bothell-Everett Highway, each one a tower-in-the-park on a superblock with a sea of parking in front of it. I’ve also heard of a shopping mall somewhere that could be TOD but the walking path to the transit stop is around two sides of it and across a long parking lot or something like that, so it’s clearly “Cars first; pedestrians unimportant.”
That was in reply to Tisgwm below.
As a former Wallingford resident (ten enjoyable years here) who relied solely on transit and the occasional taxi to get around, I’m curious as to why you classify the densification around Stone Way N. as TOD. ??
It’s a row of multistory mixed-use buildings without excessive setbacks or open space. It looks very much like the city intended to transform it from a one-story neighborhood to a place where a lot of people could live next to transit, and Metro increased the transit service in the area at the same time.
What I don’t know, and the main motivation for my question of how well the neighborhood is working, is, are the variety of businesses on the street and in the surrounding blocks enough to make the neighborhood somewhat self-contained; i.e., so you don’t have to leave the area for a number of everyday needs. The U-District and Capitol Hill are almost perfect for this: there are a significant number of people who don’t often leave the negihborhood, or even if they do for work they don’t have to for other things. In contrast, Eastlake doesn’t even have a supermarket, and the things it does have are not that relevant for residents so they have to leave the neighborhood a lot. Stone Way is obviously a level of magnitude smaller than either of these so we can’t expect as much from it, and I’m focusing it in particular rather than the larger Wallingford-Fremont district around it. The question is, how good a start is it making, and is there anything we should focus on to make it better; i.e. more self-contained.
I can’t speak for the 62 on Stone Way, but the 62 on 65th and I-5 where I work seems to be steadily growing in ridership, particularly in off peak times. I think the 62 will be a real hit once the Roosevelt station opens. The line will likely need to be shortened or un linked from Dexter, due to regular bus bunching in the evening commute times.
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