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Hello, this is a plan I came up with for a potential series of future rail expansions for the region. I have also included potential infill stations and changes to station and line names to simplify the system. The plan includes Link Light Rail, the Seattle streetcar, and Sounder Commuter Rail.

Here is the link to the plan map.

Below are overviews of each extension or alteration by line:

Existing/Planned Light Rail Lines

Link Red Line
-Renamed to Line 1 for simplicity and because color names are different in different languages and number symbols are not
-Extended southwest to Renton via White Center and Burien
-Future Alaska Junction station moved underground to facilitate a gentler curve south towards White Center
-International District/Chinatown renamed to Union Station to simplify the multiple different names for the King Street/International District/Chinatown hub, new unified concourse built in Union Station building (presently Sound Transit headquarters)
-University Street station renamed to Benaroya Hall to avoid confusion with University of Washington, University Village, and U District stations
-Infill station added at Maple Leaf
-Future 130th Street station renamed to Haller Lake
-Future Shoreline South/145th station renamed to Jackson Park
-Future Shoreline North/185th station renamed to Shoreline
-Future Lynnwood City Center station renamed to Lynnwood for simplification
-Future West Alderwood station renamed to Alderwood to align with mall name and for simplification
-Future Ash Way station renamed to Martha Lake because neighborhood names are more specific than street names
-Future SR 99/Airport Road station renamed to Lake Stickney because neighborhood names are more specific than street names
-Future SW Everett Industrial Center renamed to Paine Field for simplification and because it is known to residents by this name
-Future SR 526/Evergreen station renamed to Evergreen
-Infill station added at Lowell
-Future Everett station renamed to Everett Junction to avoid confusion with Downtown Everett
-Extended to North Everett via Downtown Everett

Link Blue Line
-Renamed to Line 2
-Future SE Redmond station renamed to Marymoor Park because it is more specific
-Infill station added at North Overlake to serve northern edge of tech center
-Future Redmond Technology Center station renamed to Tech Center for simplicity
-Future Bel-Red/130th station renamed to Bel-Red for simplicity
-Future Spring District/120th station renamed to Spring District for simplicity
-International District/Chinatown renamed to Union Station to simplify the multiple different names for the King Street/International District/Chinatown hub, new unified concourse built in Union Station building (presently Sound Transit headquarters)
-University Street station renamed to Benaroya Hall to avoid confusion with University of Washington, University Village, and U District stations
-Extended to South Kirkland via SR 520 bridge and Medina

Link Green Line
-Renamed to Line 3 for simplicity and because color names are different in different languages and number symbols are not
-Extended to Tacoma Dome
-Future S 272nd station renamed to Star Lake because neighborhood names are more specific than street names
-Future Kent/Des Moines station renamed to Des Moines for simplicity and to avoid confusion with Kent sounder station
-Tukwila International Boulevard station renamed to International Boulevard for simplicity and to avoid confusion with Tukwila station
-Future S Boeing Access Road station renamed to Duwamish for simplicity and because neighborhood names are more specific than street names, connection can be made to Sounder here
-Future Graham and Othello stations renamed to Graham Street and Othello Street to keep in line with the precedent of using full road names (ex. International Boulevard) and to avoid confusion with neighborhood names
-Inclined elevator added to future Midtown station to connect to First Hill
-Extended to Maltby via Crown Hill, Northgate, Lake City, and Woodinville

Link Purple Line
-Renamed to Line 4 for simplicity and because color names are different in different languages and number symbols are not
-Extended to Downtown Issaquah
-Future Issaquah station renamed to North Issaquah to avoid confusion with Downtown Issaquah
-Infill station added at Phantom Lake
-Future Richards Road station renamed to Factoria because neighborhood names are more specific than street names
-Infill station added at Northup
-Extended to Woodinville via Kirkland and Totem Lake (Tunnel used under Downtown Kirkland to avoid community opposition and because there is no available surface right of way) (I-405 median used between Kirkland and Totem Lake to avoid community opposition and because it is more direct)

Tacoma Link
-Renamed to Line 6 for simplicity, because color names are different in different languages and number symbols are not, and because 2 lines would exist in Tacoma under this plan
-Union Station station renamed to UW Tacoma to avoid conflict with Union Station station in Seattle
-Future S 4th station renamed to 4th Street to keep in line with the precedent of using full road names (ex. International Boulevard)
-Tacoma Dome station moved onto elevated guideway next to future Line 3 station for easier transfers and greater capacity
-Future Hilltop station renamed to Sewell Park to avoid conflict with Hilltop District station
-Future Sprague station renamed to Sprague Avenue to keep in line with the precedent of using full road names (ex. International Boulevard) and to avoid confusion with neighborhood names
-Future Union station renamed to Allenmore because neighborhood names are more specific than street names
-Future Stevens station renamed to Snake Lake because neighborhood names are more specific than street names
-Future Pearl station renamed to Fircrest because neighborhood names are more specific than street names
-Future Tacoma Community College station moved into private right-of-way off-street

Proposed Light Rail Lines

Line 5 (Yellow)
-New line from Mount Baker to Ballard via the Central District, Montlake, UW, and Fremont

Line 7 (Pink)
-New line from Spanaway to Point Defiance via Downtown Tacoma and Ruston

Existing Sounder Commuter Rail Lines

South Line
-Renamed to Line S1 for simplicity and because cardinal directions have different names in different languages and number symbols do not
-Electrified
-Frequency increased to 15 minutes
-Extended to Olympia via Centennial
-Infill station added at Clover Park
-Infill station added at Algona/Pacific
-Infill station added at Duwamish (Boeing Access Road) with connection to Link light rail
-King Street station renamed to Union Station to simplify the multiple different names for the King Street/International District/Chinatown hub, new unified concourse built in Union Station building (presently Sound Transit headquarters)

North Line
-Renamed to Line S2 for simplicity and because cardinal directions have different names in different languages and number symbols do not
-Current rolling stock replaced with DMUs
-Frequency increased to 30 minutes
-Infill station added at Belltown
-Infill station added at Fisherman’s Wharf
-Infill station added at Sunset Hill
-Infill station added at Richmond Beach
-Infill station added at West Everett
–Everett station renamed to Everett Junction to avoid confusion with Downtown Everett
-Extended to Arlington via Marysville

Proposed Sounder Commuter Rail Lines

Line S3
-Peak hours only
-Run by DMUs
-Shuttle service from McMillin to Puyallup

Line S4
-Peak hours only
-Run by DMUs
-Shuttle service from Maple Valley to Auburn via Covington

Line S5
-Peak hours only
-Run by DMUs
-Shuttle service from Monroe to Everett via Snohomish

Proposed Streetcar Changes

Under this proposal, the Seattle Streetcar system would be vastly expanded and essentially be turned into a local light rail system for the City of Seattle. Streetcars would have 100% reserved lanes and signal priority. 4 lines would be built (A,B,C, and D).

Line A: From Alki to Magnolia via Downtown Seattle

Line B: From South Park to Fremont via Georgetown, Downtown Seattle, and Queen Anne

Line C: From U District to Capitol Hill via First Hill, Downtown Seattle, South Lake Union, and Eastlake

Line D: From Lower Queen Anne to Madison Park via Denny Triangle (This line would serve as a vital east-west connection downtown between 7 different north-south rail lines-from left to right: A,B,3,C,1,2,5

I hope you enjoyed, and I encourage feedback in the comments.

42 Replies to “Puget Sound Rail Transit Future: My Proposal”

  1. Thanks for adding another reason why color-focused branding has some major drawbacks.

    I like how you brand preceding streetcars with the “S”. Would you consider proposing that Link routes begin with L, like L1, L2, L3 and so on? Sounder can also earn a letter in front , as well as 405 and 522 BRT.

    1. In my plan, it is actually the Sounder lines that have the “S” prefix. However, your idea of adding letter prefixes to each mode may be a better idea than my idea of using numbers of light rail, letters for streetcars, and numbers with S prefixes for Sounder. I chose to use “S” for Sounder mainly because “S” is the first letter of Sounder, it can stand for “suburban”, and it is modeled on the “S-Bahn” lines in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Maybe “R” for Regional Rail or “C” for commuter rail would be appropriate if “S” was used for streetcars. I think either your idea of “L” (standing for Link or Light Rail) or “M” for Metro could be used for Link.

    2. In my plan, it is actually the Sounder lines that have the “S” prefix. However, your idea of adding letter prefixes to each mode may be a better idea than my idea of using numbers of light rail, letters for streetcars, and numbers with S prefixes for Sounder. I chose to use “S” for Sounder mainly because “S” is the first letter of Sounder, it can stand for “suburban”, and it is modeled on the “S-Bahn” lines in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Maybe “R” for Regional Rail or “C” for commuter rail would be appropriate if “S” was used for streetcars. I think either your idea of “L” (standing for Link or Light Rail) or “M” for Metro could be used for Link. As for the 405 and 522 BRTs, both would be replaced by light rail lines under my plan, although “B” for Bus or BRT (a la Vancouver, BC) could be used for them in the time before the replacement rail lines are built.

      1. If ST would move all of its routes to a letter+number name, they would have a unique and identifiable brand.

        I see now that Sounder has the “S”. ST sill has no streetcars so they could use this for Sounder.

      2. They could switch the “5” in “500” to an X for ST Express, and call the freeway BRT services “B”.

        Other letters? Streetcars could use a “T” for tram or trolley. Even the WSF ferry system could be identified with “F” followed by a number.

      3. Link is closest to Germany’s U-Stadtbahn so the letter would be “U”. Although we could use “L” for a Seattle-specific name. We’re not going to get other cities to agree to common national letters like Germany has. “M” is also good because it’s our version of a metro.

        Commuter rail should be “S” for both “S-Bahn” and “Sounder”. Not “R” (Regional) because that’s what Cascades is. And “C” for “Commuter” would exacerbate the misunderstanding that commuter rail is mainly for peak-hour trips to downtown Seattle rather than a general two-way all-day mobility network.

        Streetcars should not be “S”, and it’s taken for Sounder anyway. German mixed-traffic streetcars are Strassenbahn (not Stadtbahn), and they don’t exist anymore because they’re incompatible with the volume of cars since the 1920s. Some Stadtbahns (Trams) may have limited mixed-traffic segments where the ROW is too narrow and historic, but those segments are as short as possible and not the entire route. We could use “T” for “tram”, but that might be confused with “Trolleybus” if we ever want to distinguish those later. Russia has a similar naming complication. “M” metro, “T” (three-legged Cyrillic T) tramvai = streetcar, “T” (one-legged Latin T) trolleybus, “A” autobus (diesel bus). Commuter rail is outside that naming scheme. So they have to use the same letter for streetcars and trolleybuses and do it by using different forms of the letter. We don’t have different forms of the letter to use, and “T” or “t” also means “Regional Transfer Point”. In my fantasy maps I simply use the streetcar names as mode codes: “FH” (First Hill”, “SLU” (SLU). Tacoma Link would need another scheme, and ST really needs to stop pretending it’s not a streetcar.

      4. I believe that the use of the word “streetcar” was a preference arising from not wanting to call the SLU project the “SLUT” (SLU Trolley). With numbers preceded by a letter (like T1), this legacy naming problem goes away.

      5. That’s right, it was going to be called “trolley” until a week before the SLU line opened when locals started printing “Ride the SLUT” T-shirts.

  2. Interesting plan.

    When Link gets to Everett (if not Lynnwood), though, I think North Sounder will no longer have a reason for existence. Link is set to match Sounder’s travel time from Everett to Downtown, plus having a whole lot more useful stops along the way and having a whole lot less trackage fees to BNSF. Give Edmonds and Mukiliteo feeder routes – all-day feeder routes, what’s more – and move the train crews to the south line. Or, sure, to your Marysville and Monroe feeders, if the ridership’s there and they want to join the district.

    I like the idea of light rail along 23rd St and 45th Avenue, but how’re you planning to build it? If it’s stuck in traffic, I don’t see any use; if it isn’t stuck in traffic, I don’t see how it’ll be built. I think we’ll need to go all the way to subway.

    If you’re putting rail across 520, it needs to connect to Husky Stadium Station or potentially to your Montlake light rail stop. I don’t want to make everyone going to the UW or North Seattle backtrack to Capitol Hill.

    1. The northern track is in a narrow right of way wedged between the shore and hillside and is single-track in some places. There’s no way it can carry Sounder trains every 30 minutes and freight and Amtrak.

  3. OK, here is the thing about proposals like this. It just won’t happen. Nothing close to this will happen.

    ST3 is already unprecedented. We will pass all the other cities in terms of light rail mileage. We will pass just about all the heavy rail systems as well — we will pass BART, the Chicago L, and come very close (within a mile) of the D. C. Metro. Only New York and Mexico City remain clearly ahead of us in terms of miles of subway (whether it is heavy or light rail).

    None of this was cheap, as what we are spending is really unprecedented for a city this size. Oh, other cities (Dallas, for example) built a lot of light rail, but they did so cheaply. Same with Portland. Even then, their lines are still a lot smaller. Boston, Philadelphia? Tiny compared to what we are building. Those are both bigger, more densely populated cities than us (although not as big as Chicago or D. C.).

    So, basically, you are proposing that we build the largest (or second largest) subway system in North America. (We would no doubt pass DC and Mexico City, but might still be a bit short of the New York Subway system). Except instead of heavy rail, it would be light rail.

    None of this would be cheap, of course. Not only do you have miles and miles of track, but you have some very challenging terrain to deal with. This isn’t full of Denver/Dallas style trains running in the median. You have a second crossing of Lake Washington, tunnels under Northgate, Montlake (again), and who knows what else. So, basically, you think that the 15th largest metro area in the U. S. will spend more on a transit system than every other city in North America, except, perhaps, New York. Call me skeptical.

    Then you have the matter of maintenance. Even if we magically were gifted all of this rail we would have a tough time maintaining it. Mo’ track, mo’ cost. In other words, the more miles of track you have, the more it costs to run the trains as well as just maintain the track. You can see how D. C. and New York (very popular subway systems) struggle paying for their maintenance.

    Yet this would not be that popular. Most of this map is filled with very low density areas that struggle justifying half way decent bus service, and certainly don’t have sufficient demand for subway service.

    I do give you credit for dispensing with the ridiculous “Duwamish Bypass”. Kudos for that. Same with avoiding a line on Aurora. But just as rail doesn’t make sense for Aurora, it doesn’t make sense for 520. The buses can do just fine.

    Speaking of which, even after all that money is spent, and you have all of this rail, some of the most popular trips are still better off with buses. Imagine a trip from Juanita to the UW. From Juanita (the most densely populated part of Kirkland) you would take a bus to the nearest train station, then take a train to South Kirkland, where you would then pick up a second train headed to Seattle. You would get off the train at Capitol Hill, and take a third train headed north, to the UW. That is three trains and one bus ride. If you are headed to Children’s Hospital, you would add another bus ride to that. A bus from Juanita to the UW would clearly be better.

    Or how about the Central Area to South Lake Union (or the Seattle Center for that matter). Again, that is a three seat ride. That is a distance of less than two miles, and you have to make two transfers.

    All this money spent, and we still don’t have a station for the most densely populated spot in the state (Belltown). Oh, and if you are sharing that crossing under the ship canal (by Montlake) it means the most popular segment in our entire system — the one most likely to have a capacity problem — would have half the headways. Not only does your system create the need for lots of transfers, but now the trains run less often (when they aren’t overcrowded).

    Oh, I haven’t even mentioned streetcars. Streetcars can’t go up steep hills, and our streetcars are no bigger than our buses (which make them, well, pointless). The only reasonable argument for the current pointless expansion is that the federal government will pay for most of it. That won’t happen in the future, which is why it won’t be extended. Of course you could run bigger trains, but you will never need the capacity, and besides, that becomes extremely expensive. Just run buses.

    I don’t mean to pick on you. I think the map is really pretty. I commend you for finding cheap ways to save some money, and in that regard, thinking out of the box. But most of this is just a horrible value. The return on investment is poor because it would be extremely expensive, have very low ridership, or both. You have trains running to areas with very few people, and when you do manage to cover the more densely populated areas, you have lost all connectivity or value added. The 8 suffers from horrible congestion that stifles its ridership. Yet it would still be necessary to use it, even with a subway underfoot.

    I realize that Sound Transit has set unrealistic expectations. If you look at what we are building, you would think we are L. A. or Chicago. But we aren’t. If we do grow to be even close to those cities, we will have the same big city problems as all big cities, and thus transit moves down the list of priorities. It isn’t like New York is building miles and miles of new track everywhere, despite the obvious need for it. I think some of your light rail lines make sense as RapidRide lines. One of the light rail lines (Ballard to UW) might actually get built. But most of it is just not a good value, and thus doesn’t make sense. Sorry.

    1. I’ll comment on LukasMaps’ plan below, but a couple points need to be addressed.

      “So, basically, you are proposing that we build the largest (or second largest) subway system in North America.”

      That’s not a fair comparison. The US has notoriously underbuilt transit and has huge gaps between service and need. Only New York has a network comparable to many European and Asian cities, something that approaches adequate transit for a city its size. What’s your estimate, does Germany have three times or four times as much transit per capita as we do? Even Vancouver and Calgary probably have twice as much. I don’t know much about Mexico City; I’ve heard its metro is good but crowded where it runs but it doesn’t reach large parts of the city.

      “You can see how D. C. and New York (very popular subway systems) struggle paying for their maintenance.”

      That’s not fair either. It’s not that it’s hard to maintain them, it’s that these cities and states neglected to do so and accumulated a forty year backlog. It looks like a lot when you get an accumulated bill, but if you’d paid it annually all along it wouldn’t be that much. And what did they do with the money instead? Waste it on less useful infrastructure and probably tax cuts.

      1. The US has notoriously underbuilt transit

        I said *North American* transit. If you look at the North American mass transit lines (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_North_American_rapid_transit_systems_by_ridership), you can see that we would actually pass Mexico City with this proposal. Mexico City! Yes the subway is crowded in parts — because it is Mexico City! Holy smoke, Mike, Mexico City has 8 million people in the city proper, and 20 million in the region. It is the biggest city in North America.

        Even Vancouver and Calgary probably have twice as much.

        No! Not even close. You just aren’t getting it Mike. SkyTrain has about 50 miles of track. They will be expanding it soon (the connection to the University is long overdue). but with ST3, we are going to have 116 miles! That is more than Toronto’s subway and streetcar lines combined (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_North_American_light_rail_systems_by_ridership) That eclipses the 40 miles that Calgary built. Vancouver is *more* densely populated than Seattle, and of course Toronto is. Calgary is smaller than us, but their rail line wasn’t that expensive, as it doesn’t involve a lot of underground or even elevated sections (no big bridges either).

        Even by world standards our system will be very big — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_metro_systems. Just look through that list and go through the cities until you get to Washington D. C. (which we will roughly match in terms of mileage). Tokyo, Singapore, Paris — those are all mega-cities. We are not.

        It’s that these cities and states neglected to [pay for maintenance]. And what did they do with the money instead? Waste it on less useful infrastructure and probably tax cuts.

        Again, no. We are talking about New York City and Washington D. C. They spent money on *essential* infrastructure (like water and sewage systems) as well things like police, education, and health and human services. Holy Cow, Mike, do you really think D. C. has had money to burn all these years? Have you even been to the poor parts of D. C.? Without a doubt they focused too much on expansion, and too little on maintenance. But guess what? We are doing the same thing! The line isn’t even at Lynnwood yet and it is on to Everett. That is the same misguided approach that so many agencies have used, and it leads to the same problems. You end up with a system that is extremely expensive to maintain, and eventually you have very tough decisions to make. If we have to choose between making sure kids get a decent education, people are safe and secure in their homes, or whether the light rail line to Fife is properly maintained, you can bet anyone with any sense will ignore that train to Fife.

      2. “Even Vancouver and Calgary probably have twice as much.
        –No! Not even close. SkyTrain has about 50 miles of track”

        Twice as much total transit.

        “do you really think D. C. has had money to burn all these years?”

        I don’t know much about DC. I’ve been there maybe three times but I don’t know about its finances or long-term projects. You say they couldn’t afford it, but did they even try? Did they even keep track over the years of how much deferred maintenance there was?

        “We are doing the same thing! The line isn’t even at Lynnwood yet and it is on to Everett. That is the same misguided approach that so many agencies have used, and it leads to the same problems. You end up with a system that is extremely expensive to maintain, and eventually you have very tough decisions to make.”

        Maintenance is built into ST’s budget. You’re arguing that it will cost more than anticipated. Based on what evidence?

      3. >> Twice as much total transit.

        What the heck does that mean? You mean more bus service and less rail? OK, fine (although I am not sure of that). But if that is so, then it is exactly what I’m suggesting! These cities haven’t blown their budget on long distance rail service, but instead have spent their money wisely, by focusing on the best projects for the money. They aren’t perfect (they are still focused on the suburban rail and not on building the obvious urban piece that is missing) but they are still a lot more sensible with their spending.

        >> I don’t know much about DC. I’ve been there maybe three times but I don’t know about its finances or long-term projects.

        Seriously? You know nothing about D. C. Dude, D. C. was one of the poorest cities in the industrialized world. All of the problems that come from having a huge portion of your population in poverty were there. That meant that the city had to spend a fortune just keeping the place together. Spending money on food, shelter, clothing, health care and police protection becomes a lot more important than worrying whether the rail system might break down twenty years ago. Besides, it is just human nature. People don’t vote for maintenance — they vote for improvements.

        >> Maintenance is built into ST’s budget. You’re arguing that it will cost more than anticipated.

        I have no idea whether they have properly budgeted for it or not, but their ridership projections are ridiculous. When ridership on the suburban lines matches *every other similar line* in North America, and doesn’t have that many riders, ST, *like every other agency* will be forced to make tough decisions. Either they cut back on service, or cut other, arguably more important services.

    2. Regarding the size of the plan, the actual light and commuter rail line extensions and infill stations I proposed are collectively about the same size and scope as ST3.

      I agree that the streetcar in its current form is useless, but running it to destinations that actually have the demand for it and are isolated from the light rail lines and using more than one car per train would turn it into a great asset for the city.

      For your given trip example of the Central District to SLU, it would be a 2-seat ride, not 3-seat. A rider would transfer to the streetcar running down Denny and Madison to get to SLU.

      As for Belltown, under my plan it would be served by no less than 3 different streetcar lines (4 if we are counting services and not physical tracks) and a Sounder station, not to mention being a few blocks walk’s away from Denny and Westlake Link stations. Building an enormously expensive subway that only serves a single new neighborhood that already has an abundance of (under my plan) rail service simply doesn’t make sense. Where would the line go after Belltown? Would it stub-end at Seattle Center or somewhere else Downtown? There is no place for a 3rd full-fledged subway line downtown to go that isn’t already sufficiently covered by other rail lines.

      Running both the Red (1) and Blue (2) lines through one subway line (The DSTT) is something that Sound Transit has always planned to do following the completion of East Link, it is not of my invention.

      I’m glad we can agree that the Duwamish Bypass and Aurora lines are a bad idea.

      1. Regarding the size of the plan, the actual light and commuter rail line extensions and infill stations I proposed are collectively about the same size and scope as ST3.

        Exactly. ST3 was way out of scope for a city this size, while also ignoring the key elements that every successful transit system has. Your plan spends a bit more effort covering some of the areas that should be covered by a plan this ambitious, while once again going hog wild in areas that don’t need rail (first Fife, now Woodinville). ST3 was not a good idea, but building another ST3 type system *on top of it* is just silly. It is like buying a second Hummer, when we really should have bought a Prius to begin with.

        For your given trip example of the Central District to SLU, it would be a 2-seat ride, not 3-seat. A rider would transfer to the streetcar running down Denny and Madison to get to SLU.

        I think you mean a bus, but whatever. That is still a two seat ride largely on the surface, which means it isn’t much faster than the current 8. The biggest choke point for the 8 is not on MLK, but getting from MLK to the other side of the freeway. You have congestion on Thomas and John, and then the mother of all traffic jams as you approach Denny on Olive. A streetcar won’t be any faster — it will be slower (of course). A streetcar can’t avoid the smallest of obstacles, so that when a car sticks out a bit, or blocks whatever transit lane there is, it is stuck. In short, it would be no better for a trip like that than what we have now (the 8). Whatever right of way you dream of giving to the streetcar can simply be given to the 8.

        As for Belltown, under my plan it would be served by no less than 3 different streetcar lines (4 if we are counting services and not physical tracks) and a Sounder station, not to mention being a few blocks walk’s away from Denny and Westlake Link stations.

        How is that any better than today? Again, buses are faster than streetcars. Our buses have the same capacity as our streetcars. I hate to break it you, but our streetcars are simply worse than our buses (https://seattletransitblog.com/2017/10/19/replace-ccc-better-bus-service/). In some cities, they have big streetcars and the need for them (so much demand that even if you ran buses every couple minutes you couldn’t meet it). We don’t have the former, which means concerns over the latter are moot.

        The point being, if you are going to dream of spending another 50 billion or so on a subway system, then it makes sense to serve Belltown before Woodinville.

        Where would the line go after Belltown? Would it stub-end at Seattle Center?

        Sure, that is one option, but I would prefer something like this: https://drive.google.com/open?id=19pwUFBe-I8-LeP6jdbhj-IM_nfcQdrNH&usp=sharing. The map is pretty crude (sorry) but hopefully you get the idea. That would probably interline at Westlake with the Ballard line (meaning it would use the new tunnel). When ST3 is done, only one train will run through the new tunnel. The current plans are to run Ballard to Tacoma trains through it. Since the new tunnel can easily handle trains every three minutes, and the trains are limited to running every six (due to the Rainier Valley restriction) you simply run the second train through the tunnel and end at SoDo.

        You could also run that train to West Seattle, although that gets complicated (obviously — timing becomes a big issue). But that would be fantastic for West Seattle, since they would have trains that alternate between the two tunnels (one would serve Belltown and South Lake Union, while the other serves UW).

        Getting from the Central Area to South Lake Union, Belltown, or much of downtown is a one seat ride. From the Central Area to Queen Anne, Ballard, the UW, Rainier Valley or the airport it is a two seat ride. West Seattle to the Central Area is awkward, unless of course, the Belltown line doesn’t end at SoDo, but continues on to West Seattle. Either way it works out. Either West Seattle gets premium service, or the least popular connection (West Seattle to the Central Area) is time consuming.

        Belltown would be connected to South Lake Union and the rest of downtown (directly) and have good two seat service to the rest of the light rail network. So instead of walking 12 (https://goo.gl/maps/4pcZZq5SUBu) or 15 minutes (https://goo.gl/maps/x7kjDe5kPjK2) to the nearest train station, you would simply make a transfer. That is worth it to me, given the very high density there.

        I’m not saying that will happen, though. It is very expensive. But it is a better value than just about anything we could build, with the exception of the Ballard to UW subway. My guess is the latter is the last major thing we build. I could see the Ballard line going a bit farther north (and ending at 85th) since that would be fairly cheap (and a good value) but anything more (like a line to Northgate) is extremely expensive or really a bad value (Woodinville).

  4. The line naming and station naming ideas are generally good, although I’d differ on a few details here and there.

    Line 1 (Everett-Seattle-WS-Burien-Renton): that is ST’s de facto long-term plan if you connect the previous studies. Sure, fine. I wish something could connect Renton to Rainier Valley though.

    Line 2 (Everett 128th-Seattle-Bellevue-Redmond): what does “Extend to South Kirkland via SR520 bridge and Medina” mean? The path from Redmond to South Kirkland does not go through Medina or 520. The path from Everett to Kirkland is way too long. Are you talking about diverging in the middle? If so, how? Why is North Overlake important? And please don’t call anything north of 51st “Overlake”; the name has already spread too far north.

    Line 3 (Ballard-Seattle-Rainier Valley-Tacoma, with extension north to Northgate and Woodinville and whatever Maltby is): that is the logical conclusion of connecting Tacoma-Ballard to the I think unofficial Holman Road connector to ST’s Northgate-Woodinville line. There’s debate on how worthwhile the connector is, but otherwise ST would presumably terminate at 85th. Keep “Street” out of the Othello and Graham names: Othello is already becoming a that-name neighborhood because of the station, and why not Graham too. You could pick Hillman City and Brighton up off the floor if you want more longstanding neighborhood names. And where is Maltby, why do we want to serve it, and is it in the ST tax district?

    Line 4 (Issaquah-South Kirkland with extension to Woodinville): it may be a long time before north 405 is ready for Link and Woodinville is ready for two lines.

    Line 6 (Tacoma Link Pacific-Commerce-MLK-19th): Tacoma Link should have a separate brand. ST is planning a half-dozen line network in Tacoma and it won’t be like Central Link, so just incrementing the numbers is confusing and misleading.

    Line 5 (Ballard-UW-Mt Baker): Interesting idea. Redundant with some Metro 8 ideas (Belltown-Denny-23rd-Mt Baker).

    Line 7 (Spanaway-Tacoma-Pt Defiance): what? May be a candidate for BRT. ST plans a RapidRide-like line on Spanaway-downtown Tacoma. An extension north to Pt Defiance might make sense, but is that better than turning left on 6th Avenue like the 1 does?

    Sounder 1 (Seattle-Lakewood with Olympia extension): 15-minute service would require new tracks if we’re to keep our freight economy circulating, unless that can all fit on UP. Would require a massive expensive deal with BNSF, or the state buying the BNSF tracks as some have suggested. Why a Pacific station? Pacific is right next to Auburn and a small town. Olympia is outside the ST district; would require partnership with Thurston County or the state.

    Sounder 2 (Seattle-Everett with extension to Arlington): 30 minutes sounds infeasible with the single track and narrow ROW and freight needs. Too many infill stations in out-of-the-way places. Marysville definitely needs to be brought into the ST district and get some kind of service: it was ludicrous to leave it out and Spanaway/Orting in. DMUs are supposedly less expensive, and the state studied an Everett-Bellingham commuter rail transferring to Sounder, so this is a variation of that. Arlington may be too far if it’s to remain the small town it is.

    Sounder McMillin-Puyallip: where is McMillin. Sounder Maple Valley-Covington: studied by the state. Sounder Everett-Snohomish-Monroe: the latter two are outside the ST district. Could be feasible if DMUs are inexpensive and the trackage rights too, but they sound like better candidates for buses or very-long term (as in after 2050).

    Streetcars: dubious. We’ve had enough wrangling about streetcars. Let’s digest the Link lines and RapidRide lines and work on RapidRide transit lanes for now. I’m tired of thinking about streetcars and making sure they’re up to sufficient quality to be worthwhile.

    This is all good as an ideal fantasy. As to how politically feasible and affordable it is, I have no wild guess. I’d definitely call Woodinville-Northgate and Woodinville-Issaquah excessive. If Woodinville were as dense as Ballard and weren’t so far out, then two lines would make sense. But it would pretty much require the Eastside to become as dense as Seattle, and it’s very much not interested in that at this point.

    1. Line 2 would be shaped line a “U” sat on its side, diverging from Line 1 between UW and Capitol Hill and surfacing in the median of 520, crossing the Evergreen Point bridge, going through the existing Evergreen and Yarrow Point freeway bus stations, and terminating at the South Kirkland transit center and ST3-built station. It would not head to Everett, so I am not sure what you mean by that. A station north of Overlake is necessary because it would serve parts of the Microsoft campus and the Nintendo campus which are far outside the Technology Center station’s walkshed. It also has large plots of land adjacent to it that could be used for TOD.

      Maltby is a suburb near Woodlinville that is located along the Eastside Rail Corridor, and in the 8 or so decades from now when this system would theoretically be completed it would most likely have a much larger population than it does now. It is within the ST district and pays ST taxes.

      As for Line 4, the demand already exists for light rail in downtown Kirkland and Totem Lake, and I felt the extension up to Woodlinville for greater network connectivity and so that riders in Kirkland/Totem Lake woould not have to backtrack all the way to Downtown Seattle to get to areas such as Everett, Bothell, and Northgate. Woodlinville itself does not need 2 light rail lines, but the destinations beyond it do so passengers from there can get to the Eastside and vise versa.

      For the Tacoma lines, I was under the impression that the 6 or so potential light rail routes identified by ST were alternatives, and never intended to all be eventually built, but I might be wrong on that. The North End of Tacoma needs to be served by light rail, seeing as how it has many important destinations within it and that areas far less dense than it are being served by ST3 light rail lines.

      The tracks that Sounder 1 and 2 run on would absolutely need to be bought from BNSF. The Pacific station is also to serve the Lake Tapps area, which is far from existing Sounder stations, not just Pacific itself. Thurston not being in the ST district does present an issue, but I think it needs to be overcome to provide better service to Olypmia, rather than its frankly disappointing, expensive 8 trains a day to a station that is tens of miles from its downtown (Centennial). McMillin is the unincorporated area that ST is evaluating building a station in on the Orting commuter rail study, rather than in Orting itself.

      Thanks for the feedback!

    2. “I felt the extension up to Woodlinville for greater network connectivity and so that riders in Kirkland/Totem Lake woould not have to backtrack all the way to Downtown Seattle to get to areas such as Everett, Bothell, and Northgate.”

      No trains doesn’t necessarily imply no core transit. If Issaquah Link is built up to Totem Lake, it will be right next to 405 and we can imagine a convenient transfer to a multi-line 405 BRT like one of the ST study alternatives. It would branch up to Woodinville and could continue to Maltby (so that Link doesn’t have to). Or the train could be extended north to Bothell which has more justification for two Link lines than Woodinville does, and just happens to be located where a “T” transfer or “+” transfer would be strategic for the network.

      1. I agree that running Line 4 to Bothell might be a better alternative than to Woodlinville, however, I selected Woodlinville route because a preexisting rail right-of-way owned by King County already exists from Totem Lake to there, and that it would serve the popular winery district in the Sammamish River valley, as well as providing a park-and-ride to suburbanites in the Hollywood Hill area.

      2. Serving the winery district would require a station there (at 145th I assume), and some way to get from the station to the wineries and between them.

  5. In general, I don’t like the idea of renaming existing stations. For better or worse, people are used to the current names, and the moment you start renaming stuff, all of the existing brochures, travel guidebooks, etc., won’t work anymore.

    1. Perhaps some of the unchanged names would still be used for a while, but I can almost guarantee that nobody is going to say names such as “Southwest Everett Industrial Center”. It will almost certainly be known to riders as Paine Field, so it might as well be named as such. Using temporary “Station X, Formerly Station Y” nameplates in stations, like Toronto is doing for its Sheppard West (formerly Downsview) station during the transition period is a potential fix to the issue.

      1. It’s not that hard to transition a station name. A good example is BART’s 12th Street Station in Oakland. It became Oakland City Center/12th Street. Over time, I think they’ll drop 12th Street altogether. (Of course, that station is really centered on 13th Street and the major historic bus transfer point is at the other end at 14th Street, so calling it 12th Street Station to begin with wasn’t such a smart thing to do in the first place).

  6. Quite a few of your lines are too long to be operated. The reason that the Red Line is being separated from the airport is that operators need personal breaks at a minimum every two hours. Your Everett to Renton Red line would take too long. The green line is another waaayyy too long route.

    And Maltby? Really? Maybe in 2070. I guess long range planning is a good thing.

    1. Realistically, this whole thing could never be finished before 2080 or so at the current rate of planning and construction we go at in the United States. As for the line lengths, an operator switch midway down the line may be required, this assuming that by the time this whole plan would be built out that the rail system would still be manually operated and not driverless as in Vancouver, which might be necessary to increase frequency due to future crowding.

    2. I was wondering whether Tacoma to Woodinville would hit the 2-hour threshold, but I guessed Woodinville was probably shorter than Everett so I didn’t bring it up.

      I still don’t know where Maltby is. [Looking at Google maps.] Three towns northeast of Woodinville on 522. Its center is 2 1/2 times further from Woodinville than Woodinvile is from Bothell. Its center is at 93rd Ave NE & 212th St SE, straight north of King County’s 174th Ave NE. (Woodinville is at 132nd).

      Could we please have some density in the 522 corridor and Woodinville and Maltby by then?

      1. Mike,

        Remember that this is the Green Line, with at least five stations more between Northgate and Westlake (six if the speculative one at 85th is not opened). That’s six minutes longer at a minimum, plus it’s a couple of miles farther. From Tacoma Done to Maltby would be pushing three hours.

        And, really, Maltby?

      2. Also, the Aurora Bridge is not built to withstand the weight of a rail right of way. No streetcar will cross the Aurora Bridge, ever.

      3. The good burgers [sic] of Magnolia will allow a streetcar on 28th West only when you peel the AR-15’s from their cold dead fingers. And tell me again why the NIMBY’s in the Admiral District need a streetcar to Alki? If there’s going to be a streetcar to Alki it should be on Alki Boulevard where there are like a whole row of big apartment buildings.

        But of course it would be a good idea to have a frequent bus first, just to see who might like to ride a streetcar.

        You can’t add a station to Link near Volunteer Park; ST forever closed that possibility by choosing not to rough in a flat place. No more stations on University Link.

  7. Nice map! I love the detail and thought behind it.

    If we are talking fantasy or long-term, might as well connect some colors. By 2080, Bellevue and East Side urban centers would have densed up dramatically. This map shows them being connected only to Seattle and other East Side cities, while not easily accessible by high capacity transit from the south or north end.

    1. Connect L4 (purple) north from Woodinville to Alderwood
    2. Connect L1 (red) north from Renton Landing to Bellevue.

    For Tacoma, I think it might make more sense for L7 (pink) to go down 6th to TCC instead of 21st which is mainly single family residential. Streetcars will be better for 21st, pearl, and even a waterfront route along Ruston Way.

    Also, by 2080 hopefully there is Cascadia High Speed Rail!

    Nice job!

  8. Thanks for visioning an inclined elevator to First Hill. The area is full of 10 to 30 story buildings and that streetcar just doesn’t do it justice. Midtown station is also too far down the hill to serve the many destinations and residents there well.

  9. How did you get such tidy lines on the map? I’ve played around with future/new transit lines on google maps but the line tool I use to draw lines is always very messy.

      1. I’ve been there. It can be tedious and time consuming. When it comes to drawing subway lines, that is about all you can do (other than asking readers to use their imagination). But for bus lines, there is a different approach you might consider, explained on this comment: https://seattletransitblog.com/2017/08/24/north-seattle-restructure-after-lynnwood-link/#comment-782782. Hopefully that makes sense. Basically you ask Google to come up with directions, export it (as KML) then import it back (as a layer). This can be much easier than drawing lots and lots of lines on a page. I wish Google Maps was more flexible (e. g. could split a line, connect two lines, have multiple directions on the page, etc.) but until that happens, this is the fastest way to make a transit map that I know of.

  10. Boy, making this map big with just Link lines surely does show how cray-cray the deviation to Paine Field is. They’re gonna call if “Jaws”.

    1. It makes as much sense as any line to Everett. I get what you are saying — it is a very slow trip to downtown Everett. But it happens to pick up the most densely populated parts of Everett. If those stops aren’t actually dense enough to justify the detour, then running rail to Everett is a bad idea no matter how you get there. It is almost as if the population density and distances involved make express buses the more appropriate choice.

    2. LOL! The alignment on a map does look like a shark fin.

      If the maps started showing the actual reasonable walking distances around the stations, it would look even more cray-cray!

      Even the Paine Terminal appears over a half-mile to a proposed Link station. Why not just use the Swift Green Line or run a free Paine Field shuttle to the Mariner station just over two miles away rather than to one of the closer Link stations in the plan? Paine Field fliers are going to want some sort of shuttle anyway; no one wants to drag a roller bag that far.

      Why not use a high-frequency Swift Green Line bus that can better cover the entire low-density employment district rather than have a Link station that will only have a limited area where people can walk to work, so most other transit-riding workers would be hopping on the Swift Green Line anyway?

      The Paine Field segment appears to be what happens with leaders envision more about appearances than practical utilization. It’s like the Trump wall — a simple, great photo opportunity but with limited effectiveness on meeting the larger objective.

    3. “it is a very slow trip to downtown Everett”

      The last Westlake-Everett time estimate I was was still less than an hour even with the deviation. That’s the midrange of the 512 (faster than peak hours, slower than Sunday morning, so like SeaTac vs the 194).

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