Credit: Commute Seattle

As Seattle is entering the “period of maximum constraint,” with downtown becoming even more inundated with construction projects, more workers in that area are leaving their cars at home and riding transit.

Last year, the drive-alone rate hit an all-time low of 25% of downtown commuters, even as 15,000 jobs were added to the area, according to the 2017 Center City Modesplit Survey. Nearly half of downtown workers instead chose to take the bus or train to their jobs. Adding employees traveling by foot, bike or carpool pushes non-single-occupancy vehicle commute rates above 70%.

Despite a 5% drop in the share of SOV commuting between 2016 and 2017, the share of transit ridership grew by only 1%. Instead, some former drivers were choosing to walk or participate in a carpool.

“Transit works, and we need more of it as quickly as possible. From working with employers to increase telecommuting to speeding up light rail, we can expand our transportation options that make it easier and safer for Seattle residents to get around,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan in the press release accompanying the report.

Rates of drive-alone downtown commuters have steadily declined since Commute Seattle began tracking travel trends in 2010. Over the last seven years, as 60,000 jobs were added in the downtown core — an increase of 30% — transit usage among commuters has steadily grown, up by 6%, while the drive-alone rate decreased 9%.

Commute Seattle attributes the decline in driving alone to the voter-approved $50M yearly transit investment from the Seattle Transportation Benefit District, efforts from employers to discourage driving alone and new housing downtown, enabling people to walk to work.

Credit: Commute Seattle

The Seattle Transportation Benefit District funds annually 270,000 hours of bus service for 68 Seattle bus routes to increase bus frequency and ease overcrowding. 

The report also tracks transportation usage rates of employees working for businesses participating in Washington’s Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program. The survey found the highest SOV commute rates were at employers located in the Uptown and First Hill neighborhoods, with over 35% of employees driving alone to work. Transit usage was highest in Seattle’s commercial core (62%); Pioneer Square (58%); and the Chinatown International District (58%).

Employees in South Lake Union working for CTR-participating companies had the highest walking rate, with 17% of employees commuting to work by foot. That’s far higher than Denny Triangle (13%) and Uptown (8%), which had the second- and third-highest rates of pedestrian commuting.

Beginning in 2006 Beginning in 1992, cities began adopting CTR ordinances which required employers with 100 or more full-time employees at a single worksite who begin workdays between 6:00 and 9:00 a.m. and are located in counties with populations of over 150,000 were required to participate in the CTR program.

The report found that over the last seven years, employees of businesses not participating in CTR shifted toward transit at a higher rate than employees at CTR-participating companies. Since 2010, transit ridership at companies not participating in CTR grew to 51% from 29%, while the transit ridership rate for employees at CTR-participating companies shrank to 46% from 53%. Most of those employees didn’t start driving alone, but rather switched to walking and biking.

Released Wednesday, this year’s modesplit survey was conducted by Commute Seattle, a non-profit that works with businesses to reduce drive-alone rates and is funded by SDOT and other organizations.

Seattle transit ridership is bucking the national trend. Credit: Yohan Freemark

32 Replies to “Transit Investments Luring Commuters From Cars”

  1. Doesn’t the cost of parking impact how using a SOV gets less desirable? While funding transit is good, I think expensive paid parking is a bigger factor.

    I’m not sure why this is not part of the survey.

    I’ve seen similar studies elsewhere, and a big reason why someone drives to the work alone is when employers give free parking — like through a lease agreement with the building owner for a certain number of spaces.

    1. It’s surprising how many employers in downtown Seattle still offer free parking and it would be interesting to see a breakout of what percent of drive alone commuters have employee provided free or subsidized parking. I think you get to a great point which is how much are they paying for those spaces through their lease agreement vs. the current drive-up daily or monthly advertised rate.

  2. With the conversion of streets to being more bicycle friendly, shouldn’t that share be growing? It stays a 3 percent for several years. Are we doing the right bicycle projects or is there just no ability to grow this percentage?

    The transit share growth is great! Could it be more if there were more places where buses aren’t stuck in traffic? Should we make new bus lanes more important than new bicycle lanes, based on these survey findings?

    1. I think it will be hard to grow the bicycle commute rate when it is integrated with city streets. Novice riders don’t feel safe and kids aren’t allowed because it dangerous. This sitmies the next generation of urbanites form viewing it as a viable mode to and from work. Also i am not a big fan of public showers at work, thight might just be me. By this i mean their are a lot of second order consideration you have to make when biking vs walking, car pooling or taking transit.

    2. The bike-lane network is hardly robust or even half implemented yet. Some segments appear to be functioning well: Pike/Pine, 2nd Avenue, but they abruptly end without any bike pathway to many parts of downtown. or out to where people are coming from. So it’s a work in progress, and thus ridership in progress. And while some things will be ready by the time of the coming bottleneck of construction, realistically they won’t be able to make it complete and tie up the loose ends until after the bottleneck.

      I have no specific opinions on bus vs bike corridors downtown, but in general I don’t like to see transit get shortchanged like it is on Broadway and will be on Eastlake. A comprehensive transit network is necessary to get the masses out of their cars. Bicycling is a good alternative to support but not everyone wants to ride a bike or can ride a bike or lives close enough to make biking feasible. Transit is the mode that the widest cross-section of the public can use, and can use it for both short- and long-distance travel throughout the region, and regardless of hills.

      1. Mike Orr put it well — the ratio of publicity to actual growth in bike infrastructure here is INSANE. The 2nd Ave PBL and Pine lanes are nice starts, but they hardly connect any jobs to residents, and both are about as slow uphill as walking due to traffic lights. Stopping now and saying “Welp, we invested in bike lanes and no one showed up!” would be like saying “Hey we built a monorail from Seattle Center to Westlake and no one commutes on it!”.

        Our actual bike commute “arterials” remain pathetically incomplete. From the north:

        -Eastlake is a terrifying death race to bike on for 95% of people. The waterfront Fairview detour is windy, potholed, poorly lit, and hilly.

        -Westlake to Dexter is a good start, but Dexter still suffers from a shocking number of reckless drivers right-hooking through bike traffic, and then below Denny, you get dumped into a mishmash of incomplete unprotected bike lanes or sharrows for the last mile to work. Following the road southeast on 7th takes you on a one-way ticket to faceplanting on the SLU trolley tracks, or you can take Bell, the biggest blunder in SDOT’s recent history. It’s mind-boggling how much time and cost went into woonerfizing Bell Street while skipping the one, cheap ingredient it needs to succeed: concrete diverters to prevent through-traffic. Literally every single time I biked home from SLU to WS on that route, I shared Bell with aggressive law-breaking drivers who ignored the milquetoast signs suggesting they stop cutting through.

        From the southwest:
        -Alki Trail is actually nice! Hooray! But going north from Spokane on Marginal Way, the options are an unprotected shoulder lane alongside infinite semi trucks past the port, or a cracked sidewalk crossing two to three active port gates. Beyond those, the Elliott Bay Trail is nice for a while, before becoming a bizarre shared sidewalk/loading zone/campground under the viaduct, frequently forcing riders out into Alaskan Way car traffic, with at least a couple harrowing blocks on, for instance, Yesler, to get up to the heralded 2nd Ave PBL. If bypassing downtown for SLU, or aiming further northwest like Pike, the slow climb up Western is a natural route, which is actually slow and safe-seeming with many stop signs, but the bike lane vanishes, forcing a merge into uphill car traffic, many of whom are out of towners headed to Pike Place.

        From the east, south, and southeast:
        Good luck getting north and west from around the I-90 interchange. I have no idea how bike commuters make it in from that way. I wouldn’t stake my life on the sharrows on the Jose Rizal bridge, and even the shrink-wrapped Fred pictured there on google maps (,-122.3172459,3a,75y,15.66h,71.26t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sH03pAXuQUjj5b5fgcX3mPQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!5m1!1e3) seems to have wisely taken to the sidewalk there.

        In a general sense I don’t think there’s a big conflict between improving transit and bikes. The biggest transit things that jump out to me would be to help reliability and speed of the C, D, and E lines, and no one is calling for bike lanes on SR 99, Elliott Ave, or 15th Ave W. The exceptions seem to be the bottlenecks east and northeast of downtown, like Eastlake, Rainier, and Madison, where there is one historic thoroughfare for buses that’s also got the only natural direct, flat-ish path for bikes. And of course Broadway’s streetcar is a world-class boondoggle but I’m pretty sure every actual transit rider fought that counterproductive project from the start.

      2. Yeah, there are some important corridors where biking and transit infrastructure spatially compete. But more than just that, there are a lot of places in Seattle where major segments of the bicycling network stop short of where they need to connect. These missing links mean that, despite the bikeways have been built, you still ultimately need to be confident and fast enough to ride in/between traffic to bike almost anywhere around Seattle now. And, even on the new bike infrastructure that’s been constructed, the signal timing clearly prioritizes bikes last.

        There are big gaps in the connection between Capitol Hill and Downtown. The Pike and Pine lanes stop short of where they should on the east end. The Pike St lane ends just before 8th Ave, where you can get over to the Pine St uphill bike lane. The Pine St door zone lane is far from perfect, but definitely feels safer than splitting the lane with cars speeding up the generally uncongested stretch over I-5. Going downhill, the new Pine St lane is simply too short and segmented–you have to merge over a lane, in order to ride in the PBL for 2 blocks before 5th Ave, just so that you can hit a red light as cars are given a green arrow in front of you (and as bicyclists who didn’t bother to leave the right lane continue through the intersection).

        Crossing Mercer is a major pain. You sit there for about 2 minutes as cars inch by, waiting to get on I-5, only for left turning cars to completely block the rest of the intersection just in time for your “turn” to weave through the gaps. Shortening the signal times for Mercer and swapping the timing of the left turn and straight green would help some (and would also aid drivers continuing straight), though we’d probably need to implement a congestion charge and decrease total car traffic volumes to really make those intersections work.

        The signal timing on 2nd Ave going uphill is awful and has gotten noticeably worse since the lanes first opened. Basically, you either have to get a jump on some green lights and run some yellow lights or else you get a red light at almost every intersection. It seems like decreasing the left arrow signal time and some targeted swapping of the green arrow/green bike signals in the signal phase could make the uphill lane much less frustrating.

        All of the bike infrastructure on avenues to the east of 2nd Ave is extremely piecemeal. There are a few blocks of door zone bike lanes in the Denny Triangle on 6th and 8th, which are usually intermittently closed for construction or blocked by Amazon shuttles, stop a couple blocks short of both Pike/Pine and Bell St, and don’t help you through the hazardous Westlake streetcar tracks at all. The new 7th Ave Amazon bikeway is pretty poorly designed–it’s at-grade with the sidewalk (meaning it’s mostly used as an extension of the sidewalk) and the intersection design is just lazy, dumping bikes into a shared corner curb cut. Its design problems are only going to become more apparent as this segment is better connected on both ends and gets more use.

        Currently, there’s no south-bound bike lane east of 2nd and south of Westlake Ave. The topography of downtown makes this gap much worse than it looks on a map. Anyone biking to the office core from SLU/Denny Triangle/the north end has to choose between detouring down to 2nd Ave and adding a few very steep blocks or fighting it out on 5th Ave with all of the traffic queueing for I-5. A full 4th Ave two-way PBL would help a lot.

        For getting from the West Seattle Elliot Bay trail to 2nd Ave, the best way by far is an unsigned route via Occidental Ave/Occidental Square (from the south, continuing straight on King St past the Viaduct, then turning left on Occidental, and then right on Yesler). It’s a low stress and rather beautiful route. A couple signs, a left bike turn lane on King St, and some curb cuts/ramps in the middle of the square/road would make this a great connection.

        The West Seattle-end of the trail is not very well thought-out. The low-traffic and signed route to the Junction takes you up two very steep blocks and leaves you to make an unsignaled left onto Avalon Way, a fairly busy street. The flatter route up the hill would be to ride the beginning of the Alki trail to Avalon, and then take a box left turn to get on Avalon. But, that intersection under the West Seattle Bridge is not at all designed for bikes ( To make that box left, you have to wait for a slow pedestrian beg button, squeezed into a sidewalk corner which is aligned so that cars can turn right at speed. Significantly improving the rest of Avalon Way for bikes would require taking some combination of the turn lane and one of the parking lanes. I imagine a parking-protected uphill lane and buffered/protected downhill lane would be best, along with a Dexter-style bus stop design.

      3. @Jesse: Bike infrastructure in Seattle, even when thought is put into it, suffers from the death of a thousand paper cuts. To add a few more paper cuts to your extensive list:

        The Westlake cycle track. A very well done through route and has even won national awards. But when you look at it closer, the paper cuts become apparent.

        At the north end, a poor, tight, almost 90 degree turn on a steep incline to connect from the path from the Fremont Bridge. It’s pretty sketchy when it’s dry out, let alone wet or icy. There’s the raised, yellow edges that are supposed to be an indication for the visually impaired, but they serve as ad hoc dams for water, resulting in a lot of puddling when it rains; it’s also a huge hazard when it freezes. Then you have the south end, which spits you out to 9th Ave via two ramps that don’t face the same direction as the green paint; granted the actual path improvements ended about 20 ft north of there, but still, they could have done some reconfiguration.

        Then you have the 17th Ave Greenway in Ballard. Again, a valiant effort that doesn’t seem like a whole lot could go wrong. You had an existing, popular bike route, due to the long interrupted length of 17th and the existing light at Market that has a quick cycle. But then they added the island at 57th, in the wrong direction I might add, which serves as a minor annoyance going north when the bike cut through is blocked by cars or leaves and there’s also a car waiting at the mailbox. The big annoyance was what they did at Dock St. The existing route of travel for bikes was to cross Leary at 17th and then continue down to Shilshole. SDOT instead decided to divert bicycles to the WEST down Dock St to Shilshole, despite all evidence and warnings that cyclists will continue to cross at 17th and Leary (which they still do, other than an extremely rare cyclist that uses the Dock/Leary ped light).

        So now cyclists are continuing to cross at 17th/Leary and 17/Shilshole with no protection. SDOT’s reasoning for not continuing the Greenway along 17th with safe crossings at Leary and Shilshole? It was too tricky to implement safe crossings and the “freight companies” would likely protest it. I even had one SDOT person tell me that a ped light at 17th and Leary would be too close to 15th. Nevermind that (1) Market has 5 traffic lights between 15th and 24th, not counting those intersections and (2) Leary could desperately use something between 15th and Market to calm traffic.

        I can’t complain too loud though, the biking between Ballard and SLU is easily one of the safest and most enjoyable routes in the Country, especially given the ~6 mile length.

      4. @Jesse — This is a tour de force of bike route analysis. The contradictions in the Pine St. PBL are just baffling — I’ve only ridden it on a couple occasions so I’d forgotten how weird it is.

        I like the looks of that Occidental route into downtown! Thanks for the tip. I’ll be starting a job downtown next month and will probably take that route to 2nd Ave. It does look a lot nicer than Alaskan + Yesler.

        I am lucky to usually just head north along Alki Trail coming back from downtown. For the signed route up to the Alaska Junction, have you tried it since they added the pedestrian signal at Yancy/Avalon, the left turn you mentioned as unsignaled? When most of the traffic is headed uphill in the afternoon, I’ve had good luck getting cars to stop. And if you don’t mind carrying up some stairs, it’s at least a low-traffic option to cross straight there up Andover to the foot bridge across Fauntleroy. I’ve resigned myself to at least some walking on the climb up from sea level, so that might be why I don’t mind straighter steeper options if they have less traffic.

      5. @Jesse and @JtinWS- you should be on the seattle bike advisory board, or at least send your excellent comments to them.

        I think the piece of the discussion about bike infrastructure that gets left out a lot is the politics, which is what seems to be driving the design and implementation of the bike master plan more than the preferred routes. @Rapidrider touched on this in discussing Ballard. My experience is mostly in NE Seattle, where the Burke Gilman provides a safe and level, albeit somewhat circuitous route, but there are few connections between it and residences or business districts. The anti-bike NIMBYs are so vocal that even the proposed bike lanes in the Bike Master Plan follow hilly ridge-tops, skirt around business districts, and rely heavily on greenways that provide little to no protection. Even then, when the city tries to follow through by doing a sub-standard implementation of these sub-standard plans, the NIMBYs try to petition to get them cancelled because they are concerned about parking. This is happening right now as the city tries to implement bike lanes on 35th ave NE as part of a repaving/road safety project. If we’re going to make meaningful connections to build a useful bike network, we need to give SDOT the political clout to do it even if there is local grumbling. (Side note: please sign the petition to make sure this portion of the BMP doesn’t get killed by NIMBYS: )

        I agree that when bikes and rapid transit reach conflict points, that transit should usually take precedence, but often this conflict is fabricated. On the Eastlake/Roosevelt rapidride, for example, (where it is both the only wide ROW and relatively level route around) I’m a big proponent of having a transit only lane that would switch directions with rush hour. It would require buses with doors on both sides and some thought about platform design, but there is a way to have our cake and eat it too.

    3. Bike-only works well for most people if your commute is a mile or two and relatively flat. It means you get into your work clothes, get on your bike, get to work, and go to your office instead of having to shower, etc… It also means that even if you’re not feeling 100%, you can still bike that. Once you get into the 5-10 mile range with hills it gets substantially harder as you need to shower, bring extra clothes, etc…

      The way you get around this in other countries (e.g., the Netherlands) is that you bike a mile to the local train station, leave your bike there, take the train to where you’re going, pick up your other bike there, and get to your office. But we don’t have that storage infrastructure so this doesn’t happen. And bringing bikes on buses (and trains) can be hit or miss depending on how popular the route is for bikers.

      1. I would observe that Seattle’s approach to bicycle planning is the “sweating” approach. That means long bicycle lanes, having bicyclists go up and down Seattle hills, etc. Improvements will make bicycling easier for that — but only a relatively small segment of the commute population has the will to sweat during their commutes and face the complications with that like showers and bicycle storage Downtown.

        What you are mentioning is what I would observe as the “no sweating” approach. It would be relatively cheap and easy to look at how to get staffed bicycle parking at Link stations, intercepting bicycle riders outside of a dangerous and congested Downtown. Any sort of approach could be applied. The Seattle Parks Dept could run some attended bicycle parking facilities on park land near several Link stations. A public-private contract to lease space from a business with long hours (a major drug store, a major grocery store or a coffee house) located near or at a Link station is another approach. Even the location of Police Dept offices or Sound Transit Police offices around town could be moved to be next to Link stations, enabling them to also manage bicycle parking operations.

        I realize that there are some “no sweating” strategies out there, but they don’t work well. Getting a remote, secure bicycle locker is a hassle and an expense. Worrying about putting a bicycle on a Metro bus or Link has its own risks and hassles. The bike sharing approach is not popular; I bet I see less than five percent of bicyclists using a bike share when I’m out and about.

        I think the current approach is done because of Seattle politics. The City gives priority to bicycle stakeholder groups because they speak out. They tend to push harder for an approach that promotes “sweating” when bicycling. They are passionate about it, and feel that the entire long distance should be awesome! I can’t fault them for asking what they personally want.

        However, SDOT and One Center City should step back and look at things more objectively. A voice of reason about limited transportation space on streets and on transit vehicles Downtown would suggest that the Seattle needs to be give more priority to effective “no sweat” strategies and intercepting bicyclists outside of Downtown. After all, even those Downtowns in bicycle-friendly European cities don’t have dozens of 30+-story buildings in them.

      2. Not everybody is coming from far enough away where a “no-sweat” strategy requires a bus/train intercept. The distance a typical person from Wedgwood would have to ride, just to get to the UW Link Station would be enough for someone in Queen Anne or Capital Hill to ride a bike all the way downtown. E-bikes are also getting bigger each year, and have the potential to allow for “no-sweat” rides even to the top of those two hills.

        We need safe bicycle facilities downtown, and telling people to just get on a bus is not a solution. Many neighborhoods near downtown don’t have Link service, and the bus options are slow as molasses. It is much faster to ride to downtown from First Hill or Queen Anne during rush hour than it is to take a bus.

      3. A lot of office buildings these days include a gym, or there is a gym nearby. I have a few coworkers who commute >10 miles each day and shower at work each morning. Obviously, that only works for a few people but it’s certainly doable.

        As asdf2 says, as electric-assist bicycles become more common, we might see more people willing to commute via bike as they won’t need to “sweat” if their bike is doing all the hard work.

        And I’m a big fan of having a large amount of commuter bike parking at the UW station, as that’s a good intercept for the Burke Gilman.

        But ultimately, I wouldn’t expect the numbers to shift much until the bike network is build out more.

    4. Exactly. The Netherlands has high bike mode share by all ages, but it’s in a context of comprehensive transit. They didn’t try to implement bike corridors over a spotty American transit network. And The Netherlands is flat and small: you can take a train across the entire country in three hours, and supplement it with a bike ride. Here you take a train an hour and you’ve only reached Tacoma or Everett.

    5. And The Netherlands has bicycle cars on its trains. We have three bike spaces per bus, two per Link car, and you have to take your bike apart and put it in a box for Amtrak or Greyhound.

      (Not sure about Cascades: can you take an intact bike to Mt Vernon and ride it to the tulip festival without boxing/unboxing it?)

      1. “can you take an intact bike to Mt Vernon and ride it to the tulip festival without boxing/unboxing it?”

        I believe the answer is “yes”, but you it comes with additional fee of $5-10 each way.

        For better schedule flexibility, you can even carry a bike in the luggage compartment of the Amtrak does. I did this once to visit the Tulip festival, taking the 90X/512 combination back.

        Once you get off the train in Mt. Vernon, all the tulip fields are within easy biking distance.

        Unfortunately, the limited bike-on-bus/train capacity means you effectively have to make the trip alone, or with at most one other person. Which is a shame – it would be a lot more fun with a larger group.

      2. You do not have to take your bicycle apart to take it on Amtrak. Prior to the delivery of the new long distance baggage cars, boxing your bicycle consisted of turning the handlebars, and removing the pedals. That is no longer needed.

        The cubic volume of a bicycle is equal to 3 large suitcases, which is why the cascades trains only have 10 racks.

    6. Commute Seattle tweeted another chart associated with the survey that broke out the trends by changes in absolute numbers. Drive alone dropped by 4.5K vehicles and bicycling went up by 2.5K. So despite the “bicycling remaining constant” appearance of the 3% figure, it seems that bicycling can account for half the change in the drive-alone rate. That said, walking also could have taken those cars off the road (+8K). But transit of course is doing the heavy lifting, absorbing the vast majority of the new trips. That cycling hasn’t increased more is likely due to many people who used to ride now being able to take Link, RapidRide or a frequent bus. Also the construction boom is playing havoc with safe routes even as more are being constructed. Also a key section of the Burke-Gilman Trail was under detour for a whole summer during this period and the following winter was rainier than usual.

    7. This study, like similar studies in the past, only looks at commuting, and only at commuting to downtown. It isn’t even clear whether the study looks at all year commuting. What if I ride my bike during the summer, but take the bus in the winter?

      Not to oversimplify it, but if you work downtown, it makes sense to take transit. If you work somewhere else, it might make sense to drive, take transit or ride your bike. Fremont makes sense for bike commuting if you are along the Burke Gilman. But outside of that, it depends on how you can get to the Burke. That is where the additional infrastructure comes in. But additional trips to Fremont (or the dozens of other places where biking makes sense) doesn’t show up in this survey.

    8. It’s worth mentioning two things about the commute survey that may making the bicycle mode-share seem lower than it actually is.

      First, the survey asks for just the one mode that you used for the greatest number of miles. So, most people who ride a bike to Husky Stadium and ride Link the rest of the way to downtown count as transit commuters, not bike commuters. But, they’re still riding their bikes.

      Second, the survey doesn’t ask about one’s typical patterns over the course of an entire year, but how you commuted the week you happen to be taking the survey. If the survey was issued during the winter, you’re going to have a lot less bike commuting than you would get with the same survey issued during the summer. Sure enough, if you following the link to the details page and read the fine print, “The 2017 study was primarily fielded from October 23rd and November 17th, 2017 to capture commute data for the weeks of October 15th–November 12th, 2017.”. Sure enough, the survey was conducted during the cold and rainy period, not the summer sunny period, so, of course, the bicycle modeshare is going to be depressed.

      1. Really excellent comments, particularly the discussion of the specific challenges of bike commuting and the failure of the survey to include multimode transportation at all. One of the things I’d note, indeed, is that nearly everyone (unless you park your SOV, bike or HOV in the building where you work) is also a pedestrian. And the pedestrian infrastructure is the one that is often most highly impacted by construction, without any adjustment or recompense.

        I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I will again. The construction at Rainier Square is going to take years. The sidewalk on the south side of Union St. is completely closed (except for the corner of Fourth and Union), meaning there is no crosswalk at Fifth and Union. Yet the lights at Fifth and Union, which for some years have included a no-walk, green left turn only from Union onto Fifth, are still timed like that. That increases the light cycle stopping pedestrians heading to the major bus stops at Fourth and Third and Union, already inconvenienced because they don’t get to walk down the south side of Union even if they (like me) originated there–those Union Square buildings are rather large), for no good reason. The city should have required the developers of the new building at Rainier Square to pay for the lights to be adjusted and then to be readjusted when the construction is over (although they really should have required that the sidewalks remain open, even if Union Street lost a lane of traffic).

        Instead, the entire cost of the construction is borne by the pedestrians.

  3. Credit by the ton where it’s due, Lizz. And everybody who runs, reads, and writes tto he Seattle
    Transit Blog. But some real reverence for the strong and dedicated spirits who really did the job.

    Henry Ford, Kemper Freeman, Jeff Bezos, Steve O’ban, and hundreds of thousands of others whose efforts have finally filled our country, border to border and Sea to Shining Sea with so many cars that nobody can use any of them to actually go anywhere.

    But in addition, like so many seams of gold, our Interstate Highway System and its every inch of feeder arterials have become linear iron mines already strip-mined and environmentally recoverable with ongoing advancements in giant portable shredders.

    I think the Air Force is working on pollution free fuel, so when the deal is finally closed with Midas Mufflers is a fleet of next-generation Sikorsky Sky Cranes powering up the magnets on its long-lines. And you know those flying Fords handing from the ceiling of the Seattle Art Museum and throwing sparks?

    Just figure out a way to hang thousands more of them from street-lights and all other aerial structures in a steadily growing line thousands of miles long, adding cars by the minute, as a fitting monument for an Age. Sky’s the limit, guys. Though in the spirit of conciliation neighborhoods should have the right to substitute subways instead.

    Mark Dublin

  4. That graph says “Change in Bus Ridership” but the caption on the post calls it “transit ridership”.

    These are two different things. For example, the huge dip in Seattle happened when Link opens.

    1. Glenn, in the days when elevators started to be installed in existing multistory buildings, anything strange about massive decrease in stairway use?


    2. Glenn, in the days when elevators started to be installed in existing multistory buildings, anything strange about massive decrease in stairway use?


  5. I really wish there was less of a focus on the primary mode of transportation. I think it’s important to understand how many people are taking transit vs. SOV, but the pedestrian and biking piece is not fully accurate. Even people that drive alone to work could end up walking at some point to get from the parking lot to their office. Just because it’s not someone’s primary mode of transportation doesn’t mean that it deserves less funding and lower quality infrastructure. This is becoming all the more true with biking in this city as bikeshare is becoming increasingly popular. Personally, just about every time I’ve used the bikeshare has been in conjunction with a trip on the bus–so why do I have to decide between the 2 when filling out these surveys? The amount of people biking in this city is definitely growing and it shouldn’t matter if it’s their primary or secondary mode of transportation.

    1. Maybe they should ask how many days per week did you use each mode? Or how many round trips (home-to-home) primarily involved which mode?

  6. Al S. mentioned staffed bike parking. A staffed storage area or individual bike lockers would both work, but there’s no way I’m locking my bike up to a staple rack or leaving it in an unstaffed locker, even if the locker is badged. The first saddle or blinky butt light will be stolen by the end of the first day, and the first bike will be stolen by the end of the first week.

    Individual lockers don’t have to be huge boxes. The BART station in El Cerrito has wedge-shaped bike lockers that you can rent by the hour instead of by the month:

    The fee is pennies per hour, so it’s not a deterrent to multi-modal travel.

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