A look at the preliminary project alignment for the West Seattle and Ballard Link extensions, shown by Sound Transit at the recent open houses for the early scoping process. Online comments are still being accepted at wsblink.participate.online until March 5.

88 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: West Seattle and Ballard Link Flyover”

  1. So, for the 2030-2035 period, why does the West Seattle line have to end in SODO, rather than continue on into downtown through the existing tunnel? It’s already supposed to follow the existing pathway to the UW and Lynnwood after 2035 – why not just connect it up in 2030?

    Is it an issue of tunnel capacity? Is it a problem of nowhere for trains to layover and turn around, all the way to Lynnwood?

    1. The West Seattle Line will continue through the current tunnel and become the Seattle-Everett line. I think the video truncated the “red line” at SoDo for smooth transition to the Ballard line for the sake of the marketing video.

      1. That’s not correct during the time between the initial opening of the West Seattle spur and completion of the Green Line tunnel. For that four year period the “Red Line” trains will terminate at the new elevated SoDo Station, and passengers will be forced to walk down to the existing SoDo station and catch a Central Link train on into the CBD. This means that someone on 35th Avenue headed downtown will have a three-seat ride: 21, Red Line shuttle, and then Central Link train, whatever they call it during the interim.

        Not fun and not likely to be popular.

      2. To downtown Bellevue it will be a four-seat ride. To Factoria, Eastgate or Issaquah, a five-seat ride. But driving is no picnic either.

        Of course it is also possible that Metro doesn’t do any truncations, for this very reason. Metro aggressively restructured after Link got to Husky Stadium, but that was controversial. There were plenty of people who thought they should just wait until Link gets to the U-District. They might end up doing that with here (at least with some of the routes).

      3. Or more likely take RapidRide C or the 120, which will still be running. This West Seattle stub is rather ridiculous. It would be better to put the money into finishing DSTT1 sooner and then build West Seattle. But, politics.

      4. That’s a very good idea, Ross. For those going beyond downtown Seattle or toward the south, it would make sense to do the 3 seat thing in most cases, transferring to the shuttle train at the earliest opportunity. But for people headed to the core of downtown, maybe riding the bus up the new Alaskan Way entrance is better than changing twice during the shuttle period.

        So maybe the peak expresses continue for four years but the local service diverts either toward a nearby destination or ends right at a train station. When the train starts going through downtown that is re-evaluated.

    2. The red and blue lines will be in DSTT1 running at 3 minutes combined peak, and that’s the capacity of DSTT1 unless they do capital improvements which they declined to do in ST3. So it has to wait until the second tunnel opens, and it will take longer to be ready because it’s a tunnel. When DSTT2 opens, Ballard and Rainier Valley/Federal Way will be connected to it, and West Seattle will be connected to Everett in DSTT1.

      ST3’s candidate projects included those capital improvements to increase DSTT1’s capacity, but they presumably stopped considering them when they decided on DSTT2. DSTT2 gives us more total capacity and prepares us for the possibility of additional lines in the future, and gives some redundancy downtown in case one of the tunnels has to close.

      1. What’s the reason behind the 3-minute claim? As things currently stand, today, the combined frequency of trains and buses in the tunnel is much more than 3 minutes. Trains need much less dwell time at each stop to load/unload passengers (due to off-board fare payment and more doors) – I don’t see why enough trains for 2-minute headways in the tunnel can’t be squeezed through for 5 years.

        It’s not like ST would even have to buy more trains to make it possible – it’s trains they’ll be needing anyway in a few years for the Ballard, Everett, and Tacoma line.

        What’s really disappointing about the transfer in SODO is not just the extra connection to downtown, but the fact that you have to make the connection before you junction with the Bellevue line which means 1) less frequency at the connection point and 2) West Seattle->Bellevue becomes a 3-seat ride (uggh).

        It’s also worth noting that even if you did run all three lines through the existing tunnel, you only hit the three-limit frequency limit during rush hour.

      2. I’ve never bought the argument that the DSTT is at capacity. I’ve heard the Montlake tunnel is limited due to ventilation and obviously MLK is limited due to mixed traffic. The DSTT should be able to handle a West Seattle line and still operate more reliably than today’s mixed bus/train operations.

        After Convention Place station is closed, there will be room to build a turnback for trains.

      3. I’m not a professor but this is my basic understanding:

        Trains need more room to safely stop than buses do. While train signal technology continues to improve, the physics of steel wheels will always require that trains be spaced further apart.

        That may seem like only a few seconds, but it also means that at any given platform with a loading train, the next train needs to be outside the station.

        In sum, buses in the DSTT can board two or more at a time — and then the front of the next bus to load can be much closer (even within 50 or 60 feet) to the loading zone than the front of a future 380-foot train can be (such as at 800 or 1000 feet).

      4. It could be argued that dispersing transfer points is more effective than having one big transfer point. A train has to hold doors open at every station anyway, and that minimum time could be used to transfer a few riders and thus lower the delay time needed at a central transfer point.

        Another factor is that it won’t be 3-6 minutes all day. A 5-10 minute frequency will likely the the plan outside of peak hours. That’s likely an all-day occurrence on weekends and holidays.

        In a case like SODO — If ST enables level cross-platform transfers between the two lines. They can even set up the two line schedules and signal systems to arrive almost simultaneously in each direction, keeping the ‘wait for transfer’ dwell time to a minuimum and riders can merely walk 25 feet from one train car door to the other waiting train car door.

        Early diagrams of Westlake and ID seem to imply that holding any train for transfers is impractical because that would mean giving transferring riders time to change levels and walk a block. Thus all transferring riders will likely have a wait of at least a few minutes at off-peak weekday hours.

      5. A 4-car train will fill over 2/3 of the station. There won’t be room for more than the nose or tail of another train, so there’s no point in getting it into the station or making it stop slowly and carefully so it doesn’t run into the train in front of it. Slow and careful stopping feels lime longer travel time to passengers.

      6. AJ, but the point is, there will be no lev “cross-platform” transfer at SoDo, at least not if ST gets its way. The through trains will be running on the existing Central Link tracks while the West Seattle shuttle trains will be 25 feet in the air directly to the west.

        This is why knowledgeable lay people must convince ST to adopt a shared stacked station at SoDo with route divisions to the north and south of the platform.

        I believe that the north division would be just north of Holgate in order to extend the grade separation of the Green Line to the vicinity of the tunnel portal. But that may be too close to the new elevated Stadium Station to allow the transition to side-by-side tracks in that station. So the turnouts might have to be south of Holgate with parallel elevated structures to the transition ti the new tunnel next to the new Stadium Station.

        In either case, Stadium could become the actual terminus for the Red Line shuttle trains during the four year period.

        Since North King is likely to be awash in tax revenues and does not depend on Federal funding, accelerating the building of the mile of Red Line elrvated by four years and the restructuring of the trackage on Central Link around the MF that the use of a shared elevated station would necessitate seems eminently doable within the financial plan.

      7. So one line is going to be grade separated and the other existing one will remain at-grade? And they are going to be right next to each other? Why not build then a four-track elevated (or trench) for both lines or have this second line through SoDo run down 1st Ave South and serve some new territory?

      8. I thought that too but half of Lynnwood Link is in North King, and if it’s looking at a 50% loss of funding, then ST3 may backfill it and push everything else out. We don’t know how what percent of the grant is for North King, but I’m assuming half of it, and in any case Snohomish can’t open until North King is ready.

      9. That’s hat the first plans for ST3 showed, Poncho.

        That is what happens when so many people involved in making planning decisions have never lived in a place where people must transfer from one rail line to another. They just don’t appreciate why it’s so important. Richard B is right in that we need to convince as many board members and senior staff as possible that it is very important, and that forcing people down escalators and to Holgate Street, and then cross tracks to get to the existing narrow side platform stations is such a burdensome configuration!

        Another wonderful thing about having a stacked station with center platforms — one level for northbound and one level for southbound — is that the phasing for the eventual line relocations can become so much easier to build. If they build this stacked station and the tail tracks, it becomes so much easier to establish a phasing program while leaving existing trains operating for the most part. I’m no constructability guy, but I could see how this would minimize the disruption that will be required to move the RV/South King trains to the new tunnel. Here’s a scenario on how it could go:

        1: Build the aerial station above the existing SODO busway first complete with some tail tracks to Lander where possible. That will eventually provide four different places for RV/South King and West Seattle trains to load. That should also include the aerial connections to the south to just shy of where the RV/South King line would get installed. Do all of this before the West Seattle line opens.

        2. For a short period of time, close the RV/South King line at the curve to move the trains over to the new elevated track. This could be done hopefully in a few days or weeks since the amount of new aerial track to install could be done quickly. It may even be possible to move just one direction at a time so the closures could be staggered and trains could share a single track.

        3. Reroute the RV/South King line into two of these new aerial platforms and terminate it there, using the new tail track to reverse the trains. The route would temporarily end there. One of the old tracks could still be available to move trains to and from the yard onto Link north of SODO. At this point. The RV/South King trains would be in the new station to/from the south and the current SODO platforms would be the terminus for trains running to/from the north. It may be possible to even have a dead end (temporary) platform near Stadium Station and have transfers happen there.

        4. That would then allow ST to complete the West Seattle Line and build tracks just before where the tie-in would be north of the station.

        5. Another round of closures to tie in the tracks for the eventual West Seattle-Snohomish line may then be needed. With several platforms available and a possible temporary station near Stadium, ST could have lots of options on how to split the line! This would again keep closures hopefully to a minimum, perhaps one direction at a time.

        By the way, it may even be desirable for ST to begin running the West Seattle Line to Snohomish from Day One in 2030. This is because the existing RV/South King Line will be running all the way to Tacoma by 2030 (the same year West Seattle line opens) and it seems like it might be too long of a trip for drivers to go from Tacoma to Lynnwood without a break.

      10. poncho, those are very good questions. And certainly, for ultimate capacity such a four track “main” might be optimal at some future time. The difficulty with full new four track solution is trans-platform movement. There has to be a pair of elevation changes for in-direction transfers which are the most-common form of shared-station transfers. Down to mezzanine or elevated walkway under a pair of tracks than back to the platform. There can be an offset for half of out-of-direction transfers. Four-track, two separate lines station can use a third platform between one set of reverse movements which produces a “walk across the platform” transfer. However, the “reverse” movement in the other direction does change level twice.

        With a shared, stacked station, in-direction transfers are highly prioritized; a rider takes three steps off of the first train s/he rides, turn 180 degrees and wait to take three steps onto a following train. It can’t get much easier than that.

        On the other hand every reversing transfer requires a change of level.

        The in-line transfers in the SoDo configuration shown on the project documents would ask more walking and climbing from the riders than would the adoption of a shared, stacked station as discussed above and on other posts. Yes, it costs somewhat more and there are always operational issues which can arise from merging then un-merging lines. Were it not for the benefit of the maximized in-direction transfer, it would not be worth the complexity. But those benefits are an important element in passenger experience for those destined for the “other” set of destinations from those of their origin train.

        It is adequate in capacity at least until some possible third extension to the south is added. Should that time arrive then the plan would be simply to build the parallel elevated structure and platforms for a new parallel Green Line trackway above the by then-demoted lower right of way, leaving the shared-trackage merge junctions as emergency cross-overs.

      11. Yeah, Mike summarized the issue well. Basically there are three forks south of Westlake: Bellevue, SeaTac and West Seattle. If trains are limited by 3 minute headways in the tunnel, that means that you are looking at 9 minute headways on all three branches. That is probably fine much of the day, but not during rush hour. For that reason I could see running it that way off peak (since service to the UW or even Northgate would be fine outside rush hour) but during peak, the trains have to get out of the way, otherwise folks from the East Side and south end see their service deteriorate.

        As for why ST has three minute headways, the basic reason is reliability. Essentially you get train bunching. So that means that if you are riding a train, it might not arrive at your destination when you expect it to. Personally, I don’t see it as a big problem. If the trains ran (or tried to run) every two minutes from the UW (or Northgate) to I. D., that sounds like a good thing, even if the train gets delayed once in a while getting to I. D. You have a shorter wait period, which would make up for the delay. The only problem is the other parts of the line (south and east) where the schedule will still be six minutes, but might be delayed going into (or out of) downtown. Overall, with the improvement for West Seattle (and improved headways from the north end of the line) it all sounds like a wash at worse. I would do it, and if you do get occasional train delay, it makes building the second tunnel seem justified.

        Obviously S. T. doesn’t look at it that way. Like the current situation (with the bus tunnel) no one is doing much (like having off board payment for the buses) because the situation is temporary.

      12. Al, you can’t truncate the RV/south line and force its many more passengers to transfer (your step 3). The fewer passengers from West Seattle should make the transfer, which is what ST proposes.

    3. So they’re going to build a temporary SODO station for four years? For what? By 2035, the West Seattle line is going to be connected with the regular Central Link tracks anyway. Just connect it there the first time and deal with the occasional 30-second delays that may result from two-minute headways in the DSTT for four years.

      1. What temporary station? I think the default alignment is to build a new elevated West Seattle station, and trains to the south will continue using the existing station. When DSTT2 is ready, the elevated track further on will go into DSTT1, and the surface track will be switched to DSTT2.

      2. Mike is correct. The final configuration as currently planned is for the existing alignment is to be used unchanged south of the new tunnel portal somewhere between Holgate and Royal Brougham. The existing Stadium Station will be removed, perhaps for the transition to the new tunnel.

        Alongside the existing tracks (e.g in the E5 roadway) a new elevated trackway will be built from Spokane north across Holgate with a new elevated SoDo station directly adjacent to the existing SoDo Link station, but up in the air. The elevated trackway may initially not be completed farther north than a reversing tail, but durind the four year transfer period, it will be completed past Holgate, then descend to a new Stadium Station in the roadway, then connect to the existing Central Link tracks between Royal Brougham and the diversion of the Green Line to the new tunnel.

        I expect that this plan aims to minimize disruption to Central Link, but it forever messes up in-direction transfer options at the best station in the system at which to optimize them.

    4. Thinking back on how Metro overhauled the bus system in NE Seattle when the Husky Stadium station opened, I wouldn’t be surprised if Metro chooses to truncate WS bus lines like the 120 and the C line at the Junction or Delridge stations to “encourage” use of the stub line, whether commuters like it or not. They’ll want to avoid the risk of low ridership PR dogging the agency or threatening future projects.

      1. Check out the long range plan for Metro’s current thinking:

        As currently proposed, neither the C nor the 120 (Delridge RR) will truncate. The C will instead turn towards Admiral and Alki. This improves connections within WS and provides good feeder service for Link both from the south and the west, and it will force people to transfer to head into Seattle. The future 120 will continue to cross the Bridge to provide bus service in SoDo – depending on where in downtown you want to go, it will likely be faster to transfer in WS.

  2. That video shows the problem with how can a Burien extension be added when the line is pointing west toward the narrow residential streets?

    1. If the Ballard-UW line doesn’t need to interline with Ballard-Downtown (as I’ve seen argued here), maybe WS-Burien doesn’t need to interline either.

      Or, Maybe WS-Burien interlines at Delridge, turning Avalon and the junction into even more of a spur than it is already.

      1. That is a very interesting idea. Personally, I think no one will ever run a train to Burien, because Burien (for all its charms) is simply too low density and too far away from the city to justify it. Not that we aren’t doing similar things right now, but eventually that catches up to you, and folks wonder why you want to send trains to low density suburban locations instead of simply fixing what you already have. Buses for sure. Trains — probably not.

        But if the West Seattle line is extended, then your idea makes a lot of sense. It is very similar to what they considered — a line on Delridge.

        The reason folks want the extension is that they figure you can pick up all the good spots on West Seattle that way (as explained here: https://seattletransitblog.wpcomstaging.com/2013/12/27/how-might-west-seattle-link-actually-look/). The problem is, hardly any of those spots are especially good from a cost analysis standpoint. The best stop is High Point (which is the highest density census block in West Seattle) but even that is not fantastic (it is about the size of an average place in the Central Area). The problem is cost. I think a line that curved back and forth (even if it was facing the right way initially) would be expensive. For a route like David’s to work, you have to have a lot more growth in West Seattle (close to those stations). If you are imagining that, they you might as well imagine it along Delridge, which presumably would be cheaper to deliver.

      2. I’m bullish on Burien to Renton via Southcenter. I think that would be built well before Burien to WS. And a Burien to Renton line isn’t about Seattle, it’s about providing a good east-west connection for South King, particularly to the major jobs center of Southcenter.

        The vast swath of residential between the Junction and White Center is difficult to serve via rail, both because of geography (the ridge) and land-use. I think West Seattle is much better served by 3 high quality bus routes on California, 35th, and Delridge than any one rail line. Let the buses do the hard work of moving people around within West Seattle, with much better coverage than rail could ever provide.

      3. I see modest ridership on the F, and a lot of ridership on any route from Renton. The place where I do see crowds at the F and 150 stops is Southcenter on west. While Link will improve it, I see more ridership in the north-south corridors in south King County, and all the buses at Kent Station, and more get on by East Hill and get off somewhere beyond it (Benson Road, 132nd to Wax Road). Putting all those together, you’d get a line from KDM Station to Kent East Hill and north to Renton. Of course the hills aren’t conducive to trains.

      4. In this example, I don’t think looking at existing bus ridership is a good way to design rail lines because the F is a slow, circuitous route. I’d imagine very few of the F riders are “choice” transit riders. All of the destinations served by the F have ample, free parking. I think the F would have much, much higher ridership if it was even remotely competitive with driving.

        When looking at investing in rail in Seattle, looking at bus ridership is a good proxy for a good route because most of the rail riders will simply be existing transit riders enjoying a better ride. But in the suburbs, a good route will need to succeed by getting people out of their cars.

      5. Buses can move people around West Seattle just fine for the most part, however, to get people out of West Seattle during the rush hour, it won’t matter if you add 3 or 30 quality bus lines to West Seattle as long has they have to contend with traffic on the bridge and in the bottleneck leading to 99N, which will get worse as the peninsula’s population drastically increases. You’ve got to give the residents right of way light rail since it will be the only effective way commuters will have in surmounting those traffic problems.

    2. Yep. The east-west axis of the approach and elevated station on Alasks mean that there will never be a Burien extension.

      Shades of the screeching El if they try to turn onto California.

      1. Since I brought it up in too-snarky a way, I guess I would ask “Who has a good solution?” to the problem of an elevated California Avenue sharp left should Burien be sought in the future. Or a surface station for that matter. Ninth and Irving is a good illustration that though these trains can indeed accomplish such sharp turns and do it much more quietly than the El, it’s still a psychologically “looming” intrusion over an activity center.

        So, should the current plan be adopted and a need to go south does emerge, how can ST best respond to a difficult task? Something like that. I don’t have one, but hope for suggestions.

      2. >> I guess I would ask “Who has a good solution?” to the problem of an elevated California Avenue sharp left should Burien be sought in the future

        I think jas had it up above. Just interline at Delridge. If Burien becomes the second largest city in Washington, then an elevated train along Delridge (which was already considered by ST) would make sense. But I wouldn’t hold my breath. Unlike UW to Ballard, this isn’t something that makes sense now, nor will likely make sense in the future.

      3. The current plan is just a representative alignment for cost estimate. We gave feedback that transfers are paramount and Alaska Junction must be designed for the extension ST has already studied. Others said the same thing judging by the stickies. So we’ll see in the next couple rounds whether anything changes.

        I wish we could pin ST down to say exactly how they plan to incorporate an extension, but we’ve tried that for years with U-District Station and the 45th line and ST keeps dodging it, and the same with Ballard and the 45th line. The only thing we can do is hope ST gets better in a later stage. Or talk to your councilmember about it. Lorena Gonzales contacted ST every day for months about 130th Station. What if she did the same about transfers and extension stubs? Not that I want to burden her with contacting ST every day, but what else can we do that’s as effective? I’m hoping there will be an STB editorial about the essentialness of good transfers, and how it’s worthwhile spending significant resources on. That might help.

      4. There are several different issues with extending West Seattle beyond the Alaska Junction area:

        1. The densest development in West Seattle that will still be unserved by Link is along the beach (Alki), and the one-block wide California ST strip. Everything else is essentially in townhouse or single-family except for the occasional apartment building. That sets the stage for going further into West Seattle to be a lower priority than going many other Seattle areas, such as First Hill/CD, East Queen Anne, Fremont/Wallingford, and maybe Lake City — and probably even areas of Renton.

        2. The South King County HCT a few years ago showed that costs from Burien to TIBS and then to Renton would likely be much cheaper per mile (as mostly surface) and would seemingly add more riders per mile than it would to through West Seattle as a subway. Unfortunately, they did not publicly present an analysis of this as one of the later options. Just like we’re planning a Issaquah-Kirkland eastside line (in a more suburban corridor), a similar “crosstown” rail service may be the best initial solution. Any connection to West Seattle could be added later.

        3. The whole notion of a Duwamish bypass could have implications for serving Burien. The bypass would shorten the trip to TIBS (that time estimate has been long debated so let’s just say it’s somewhere between 5 and 20 minutes), making it faster to get into Seattle from Burien via TIBS than via West Seattle.

        4. The huge missing elephant in the room with the West Seattle extension track and station layout is desigining the feeder bus network. Should West Seattle have a major transfer hub like Northgate and Bellevue, or have a few routes at each station? Should RapidRideC get extended to do things like make a giant loop around West Seattle (laying over at a Link station) — or perhaps getting extended to meet a Green Line Link station? Should the bus services north of West Seattle Link be reconfigured somehow, rather than be the tails of Route 50 and 128? Should we restore a West Seattle streetcar system?

      5. 1. This is more spinning about ideals. Morgan Junction and Westwood Village are more than just townhouses. Westwood Village is a hub urban village so it’s to get a midrise office tower or two like Mt Baker. Alki is the definition of a place that’s not along the way and can’t be served by a train to downtown unless it goes under the bay across a very active shipping channel.

        2. Renton to TIB to downtown would have awful travel time. Going around Burien seems like it would take longer but if it’s all grade-separated it would be competitive with the 101.

        4. Metro already has proposals. The C is to become an Alki to Burien line. Anything wrong with that?

      6. 1. Morgan Junction is included in the California Ave higher density strip that I mentioned. The mostly one-story Westwood Village doesn’t have those mid-rise buildings yet, and it does have the occasional apartment building that I mentioned across the street from it.

        2. I would certainly welcome a study to see if the Renton part of a Renton-Burien line should begin east of BAR Station, with the two lines running parallel between TIBS and BAR. Perhaps the infill station at S 133rd St should be on the table. I don’t really think there is a clear corridor to use between Burien and Renton and ST would hopefully consider several if it came to that.

        4. There is nothing inherently wrong with redefining RapidRide C to Burien as shown in the 2040 scenario, except that it would mean that the line would no longer serve the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal nor Westwood Village. The 2040 Metro plan has mostly very long, multi-jogged routes in West Seattle though, with the frequent ones running all the way to TIBS or Burien TC — which would seem to create lots of reliability problems. However Metro admits that it’s not a critically assessed service scenario. The whole situation suggests that some basic discussions about bus-bus and bus-rail interfaces in West Seattle would be a very timely thing — so that the West Seattle Link project definition can take that into account.

        I have lived near an intersection of three local bus routes that all fed a different higher speed rail station. It’s great in the morining when you can choose the next one to get to a train (although sometimes you guess the wrong stop so real-time arrival helps that). It’s very frustrating to get home though; you end up guessing which route is best to use to get home while you are on the train — and you have to build in the extra few minutes to get off the train, change levels via escalator (hoping that it’s in service) and run across a signalized intersection get to the bus stop. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten out of a train station and at the corner, only to see the connecting bus open its doors then pull out before I can get across the street to the stop; had the station designers had the foresight to have build a pedestrian connection underneath the street, that wouldn’t have happened over and over again.

        This very basic bus-rail and rail-bus linkage visioning needs to be happening in West Seattle to inform the ST study and alternative decisions. Does Metro and the West Seattle community want to run a different major bus route to each station, or does Metro want to have a bus hub like they have elsewhere in the Metro system (Bellevue, Northgate, Mt Baker, etc)?

        Frankly, everyone admits that ST/Metro blew it with the Mt. Baker interface. Why? Could it be because ST didn’t really generally strategize the interface with Metro? Do we want to keep repeating this mistake?

      7. Metro plans an all-day Express route from the ferry terminal to the Junction and South Lake Union.

      8. >> 1. The densest development in West Seattle that will still be unserved by Link is along the beach (Alki), and the one-block wide California ST strip.

        False. Check out the density map. The most densely populated area of West Seattle is High Point It is not served by Link. Obviously things change, and we can see what they look like in the next census, but my guess is that will remain the most densely populated place in West Seattle. It will certainly be the most densely populated place not served by Link (it is both now).

        That doesn’t mean serving it makes sense. It could be very expensive. Cost matters. I think it is highly unlikely that Burien ever gets light rail, but if they get light rail, then running light rail via Delridge (interlining at the Delridge stop) would be reasonable. At least it would serve Westwood Village (which is second in terms of density) and be close to High Point.

      9. Let’s not get too caught up in density definitions. It could be that you are looking at census tract densities and I am looking at existing land use/zoning densities.

        A bigger, more direct question that I have is this:

        Should West Seattle have one transit center with routes radiating from it as part of a Link station, or should it have one or two routes go by each station when the proposed stations are less than a mile apart from each other?

        A good argument could be made either way. However, some consensus is needed to lobby ST for where to prioritize a good bus-rail interface.

      10. In West Seattle the hills make the effective distance further than it looks on a map. There are steep inclines between California, 35th, Delridge, and 16th. So they’re pretty isolated from each other. The biggest urban village is at Alaska Junction and it runs continuously to the Admiral District and Morgan Junction. It would be silly to build a train that just crosses the Duwamish and terminates where few people live or work. That would dampen ridership severely, contradict the PSRC’s goal of connecting urban growth centers, and may lead Metro to continue running the C to downtown. So it really should go to the Junction, and then the question becomes whethr to keep the other two stations. I don’t see backtracking from California to 35th, Delridge, or 16th as worthwhile.So I think we should keep the stations where they are, and design the bus routes however we see fit.

      11. My first thought after moving here was “Why does the West Seattle water taxi stop so far?” It would seem that moving the West Seattle pier, or adding a second one at Akli, might be more practical than trying to run a light rail or streetcar down to Alki.

      12. Ross, if Burien needs to join south of the Delridge Station then we need to advocate that Delridge be stacked for the junction.

        Whether via Alaska and Morgan Junctions and High Point or via Delridge, ST needs to do the engineering NOW to accommodate an extension.

        Ambaum Boulevard is a natural place for a high density corridor. It would have spectacular views of the Olympics while not blocking any else’s because it’s on a ridge. Put three stations between White Center and downtown Burien and you can house a hundred thousand people along there.

        The coming flood of climate change refugees have to live somewhere. Pugetopolis can be LA North or it can be Bay Area North, but it will be one or the other. I say line the crests of all the north-south ridges with tall residences so many people can enjoy the views. Most cities don’t have them in all directions!

      13. If we have a “flood of climate refugees” then we have a lot more to worry about than our public transportation system. If climate change increases enough that people move here for that reason, the economy will have collapsed, and the priorities will be water, food, shelter and clothing.

        Should West Seattle have one transit center with routes radiating from it as part of a Link station, or should it have one or two routes go by each station when the proposed stations are less than a mile apart from each other?

        Well, it should have a busway from West Seattle to Ballard, but that isn’t going to happen. We are building a train line instead. To answer your question, the buses should go by each station — whichever is easier to reach. The 120 is the 10th most popular bus route in our system (and about to be RapidRide). It would be silly to send that bus up to the junction (it’s bad enough it can’t just get on the freeway in its own lane and go through a bus tunnel downtown). You wouldn’t want the Delridge stop to be a transit center, because nothing is there (the stop will be close to the bridge). There will continue to be buses linking Delridge and the junction (like the 50 and 128) so it wouldn’t add much value. There will be buses from Alki and all the other relatively densely populated areas, connecting them to Link.

        Let’s not get too caught up in density definitions. It could be that you are looking at census tract densities and I am looking at existing land use/zoning densities.

        Maybe, but even if you look at the zoning rules, High Point looks better than Alki (https://jeffreylinn.carto.com/viz/681ff218-0a5d-11e6-8f50-0ea31932ec1d/embed_map). But you are right, that is quibbling. The bigger point is that West Seattle is not North Vancouver. North Vancouver is extremely dense and full of office buildings (think Belltown) close to the water. But as you go out, it becomes relatively low density. West Seattle has small pockets of medium density locations all over the place. The train will serve a couple of them (Avalon and the Junction). Alki is another spot, as is High Point. There are tiny stretches of density along the corridors, but it doesn’t spread out very far. This means you just don’t have large groups of people that can be well served by a train. You have the sort of dispersed moderate population that makes a lot more sense to serve with buses. Oh, and when you add in what is arguably the biggest destination in West Seattle (the college) the dispersed nature of the peninsula becomes clear. Just about everyone who rides the train will take a bus, and be asked to make a transfer to the train. We should do what we can to make that transfer fast and easy, especially since a lot of those riders will wonder why they didn’t just build a fast way to get that bus downtown. (Answer: Dow likes choo-choos).

  3. What does everybody think Seattle, and the rest of the Sound Transit service area, will be like in 17 years? What’ll change, what still stay the same? Any lessons from 2001 ’til now?

    Because if we don’t like present trajectory, age-range we’re all at, we’re going to be the ones who have to figure out to do about it. What’re going to do different? Unless we like most of what’s important like it is. Thoughts?


    1. If you start from the beginning of 2001, nobody expected 9/11, few people knew about Enron’s house of cards, Bush’s keeping interest rates low was atypical and led to the real estate bubble, then the second-worst crash in a century, then the sudden takeoff of cloud computing and Amazon. People in 2001 expected just to get over the dotcom recession and then continue a moderate steady rise. They didn’t expect a sudden rapid growth that would overwhelm the housing supply and make prices turn vertical, or the major increase in traffic.

      In general, and this goes back to the 1970s, people have become gradually more accepting of density and high-capacity transit and walkability as the only viable way forward. We focus on the remaining resistance of NIMBYs and suburbanists, but the center of the debates now is significantly different than it was in 2001, and even more so than 1991 or 1981. When you look at why doesn’t Link have more inner-city stations? Why didn’t we spend more resources to build a heavy-rail system that could run at 85 mph? Why didn’t we address Metro’s longstanding route inefficiencies ten or twenty years earlier? Why didn’t we have widespread frequent evenings ten years earlier? Why did we keep doing these half-assed measures that weren’t really effective competition to driving and left the carless stuck? It’s because average people just didn’t see them as important or worth spending money on and we were doing just fine without them. And they also understood less what a subway would be like or how they’d feel about it after it was running, or what the impact of infrequent buses are on those who ride them. No we debate how tall to allow buildings in urban villages and whether to allow ADUs and duplexes in single-family areas, but in 1991 we were arguing whether to have urban villages at all. The arguments about Link on 99 in Des Moines displacing the strip malls are the same kinds of arguments Seattle was having in the 1970s and 80s and early 90s. And that’s why ST1 Link is so compromised, and why the goal was framed as the Everett-Tacoma spine.

      1. Mike, my own take is that at all levels, the whatever’s bad in public life is due to how long things have worked so well for enough people that it might as well be everybody.

        But fret not. All bad habits carry their own eventual limits. Often formerly called leopards, likely becoming rebranded as the one critical missing element of the paleo diet.

        My “call” is when the sewage system goes the way of transportation, the smell of discontent will be on the wind from all directions. Since the draft ended fifty years ago, nobody even knows what a latrine shovel is. Let alone what a Sergeant is.

        After 70 years of private driving, it’s only been recently that most people could see any reason to change to even think of traveling any other way.
        Main real push for transit will be when certain number of people, and their employers, realize they’re not only inconvenienced, but trapped.

        Only two questions. When, and what are we going to do about those mobs whose approach to transit is killing us if we don’t get it for them. So best course of action is to be ready with something. Which everybody who thinks transit is overdue should be ready to act on.

        Because, face it, all these placid stubbornly transit ignorant oversatisfied car-lovers are all that’s been saving you from a country full of me.


    2. One thing that is going to happen is the the number and intensity of light rail riders’ influence will increase. Questions like ‘where should we build?’ will shift to ‘how should things operate?’. Future ballot measures will have large portions of their budgets doing fixes or enhancements on the existing system. Board members, whether elected or appointed, will be judged by how they address rider problems because ofboperations rather than how many extensions they can deliver.

      Another issue is that as much as 1/2 of King County boardings will be on ST. The relationship with Metro will be revisited because people won’t tolerate a disconnect like we have now with our bus-rail interface.

      I would even think that ST will want to have an elected board, or the public will pressure to turn ST operations managed as a joint transit agency supervised by the King, Pierce and Snohomish transit districts without an elected board. The current model of board members not responsible for operating other systems will be considered ludicrous.

    3. One thing I can think of to add immediately in response to your open-ended question is that we will experience another economic recession during the next decade. The magnitude and duration of said recession is uncertain of course, but there’s little doubt that a recession will hit us. This obviously will impact Sound Transit’s build-out plans for ST3 and thus we shouldn’t be surprised to see delays in the completion schedule as well as project scope diminishments.

      Remarkably, ST has made no provisions in their long-range financial plan to position themselves better for dealing with the financing consequences relating to any sort of major economic downturn.

      >>>Risk Analysis.
      The Financial Plan is based on a number of assumptions and projections of key variables
      such as cost inflation, revenue growth, interest rates and availability of federal funds. Although adequate contingency factors have been included in all these key variables, the financial forecasts are still vulnerable to periods of economic recession, and/or “spikes” in the cost of labor or construction materials. Although
      the Financial Plan reflects adequate cash flow, cash reserves and debt coverage to meet all financial obligations, a severe or near term recession is not currently reflected in the Financial Plan would most likely require further downsizing of or delay in the roll out of the ST2 and ST3 programs.<<<

      Source: Sound Transit, October 2017 Financial Plan

    4. “Future ballot measures will have large portions of their budgets doing fixes or enhancements on the existing system. Board members, whether elected or appointed, will be judged by how they address rider problems because ofboperations rather than how many extensions they can deliver.”

      By 2036 the Spine, Ballard, West Seattle, the BRT lines, and the infill stations will all be open. The rest is of interest only to Issaquahites and Tacomans. So there could be a turning point then. But that’s a long way off. it will be another generation making that decision. Everyone will be in a later stage of life, the politicians will be different, and unpredictable issues will come up. So we can guess but we’ll probably guess wrong.

      However, a working backbone will change people’s experience. If Everett, Redmond, Tacoma, Ballard, and West Seattle are functioning as well as Link currently is, people will say at least the core is working, and may be relatively more interested in keeping the core running smoothly. It will also be the final proof whether Piercians are satisfied with the Tacoma extension they put so much hope on.

      All along I’ve suspected that people in the 2030s will review the decisions made in 2016 and may modify them, because they’ll have other concerns on their mind, and different people will be representing them. Of course, the state legislature might become a more cooperative partner by then, and that would open up possibilities we can’t consider now.

      How do you want ST to prepare for a recession? Announce which projects will be delayed or deferred in which order if revenue drops in each subarea? Hasn’t it already scheduled things in priority order, so it can just cut back from the end? Everyone knows a recession will someday come, and expects ST to do the same thing it did in the last recession. ST’s preparation for a recession is making sure it can continue the bond payments.

      There are also other unknowns like the loss of federal grants and cost increases, which would have the same impact as a recession.

      1. They do what other governmental agencies do, or should be doing, by building up adequate fund balances to weather economic downturns (as well as adjust discretionary expenditures of course). I suggest you take some time to read the much-delayed 2017 annual financial plan as it reveals much about how this agency operates. They are long overdue for a comprehensive performance audit by the SAO.

        Of course there are unknowns (federal grant funding, federal loan programs, bond rates, etc., etc.); no one is arguing that point.

      2. Building up a fund balance means spending less, which means that lines that everyone says we need now and are suffering without will open even later. The same pressure that turned ST3 from a 15-year package to a 20-year package is why there’s on fund balance: we have a huge backlog of things to do and we can’t slow it down even further. If a recession comes, the effect will be the same with or without the fund: operations will continue and planning/construction will be delayed. There’s a lot of planning and construction in the medium term, so a lot that can be delayed without affecting operations.

      3. Recessions are not forecastable. Over some longish period of time, recessions are virtually certain, but it’s impossible to predict the timing.

        For an agency with debt, such as Sound Transit, the appropriate way to prepare is to make long term plans with average growth rates of revenue and cost so that fluctuations even out. And to leave enough cushion in the debt program that they can take a hit. Sound Transit’s cushion over the next several years is very ample; it only gets constrained in the 2030s. So there isn’t a problem unless they hit a 2008-like recession that permanently lowers the long-term growth trajectory.

      4. “If a recession comes, the effect will be the same with or without the fund:…”
        This is absolutely false.

    5. I expect a “soft landing” of sorts for the region, as opposed to the Boeing induced “last one who leaves, please turn out the lights” type thing of the early 1970s. Our economy is more diverse, so when Amazon shuts off the employment spigot, it won’t hurt as much. I do expect Amazon to reduce it’s workforce at some point, since the big money is made by having a very large company with very few employees. Seattle has been a boom and bust town for a while, of course. Between 1940 and 1960 we grew by almost 200,000 people (although some of that might have been by annexation). Between 1960 and 2000 we only added around 6,000. Now, during this boom time, we’ve added around 140,000 since the turn of the century.

      So, my guess is the region will add around 150,000, with about 2/3 of that inside Seattle. I’m not counting places like northern Snohomish County, or southern Pierce County (or Thurston, Skagit, or Whatcom County). Those places (all together) might add another 50,000 or so, but they are very far away from Seattle, and the growth will likely be very spread out.

      That may be optimistic. 800,000 or so folks in Seattle seems like a lot (even 20 years from now) but it could happen. If the local economy continues to thrive, and if they loosen up the zoning rules, it is quite reasonable.

      1. “800,000 or so folks in Seattle seems like a lot (even 20 years from now)”

        Seattle’s population started accelerating in the 1990s, and increased 400,000-600,000 per decade until 2000, when it then doubled to every five years. Even if we assume the post-2011 explosion will slow down soon, it will probably slow down to the previous level. Either way, the current estimate is above 710,000, so at the faster rate it would get to just this side or that side of 800,000 in 10 years, or at the slower rate in 20 years.

        Of course zoning plays a role in this. I don’t know how much the current zoned capacity has to “fill up”, although i do know that some theoretical capacity won’t be used because it’s not enough of an increment over the current building. The low rents in old buildings we traditionally had before 2008 were because the population had fallen in the 1960s and there was still slack in the market. That slack filled up in the Amazon boom and rents and displacement accelerated. If the zoned capacity fills up, a similar thing would happen again. And that would limit the number of people who would be counted in Seattle’s population.

      2. Those figures are too low, Ross. The lowland Southwest will be uninhabitable in 20 years, with midday temperatures regularly above 120. Twenty million people live between Pomona and Tucson. They are going to move back north, and Puget Sound is the nicest single place on the 47th parallel anywhere.

        Build it or not, they’ll be here soon.

  4. Why are they locating Denny station at Westlake & John? It looks like it doesn’t even touch Denny. Plus the Denny station is so close to the South Lake Union Station, these need to be spread further apart. There is so much overlap of station walkshed radii.

    Is it fair to assume Westlake will be torn up and it will be an opportunity to move the streetcar tracks to the center lanes and made into a shared bus and streetcar transitway? https://nacto.org/publication/transit-street-design-guide/transit-lanes-transitways/transitways/center-transitway/ Then send the streetcar further up Westlake to Fremont and the zoo.

    1. I think the intention is to bore the tunnel, so surface disruption would be where stations are. It seems similar to the tunnel underneath Downtown that we just bored, or what we did with Link under Beacon Hill 19-15 years ago.

      I suspect Denny Station is the placeholder because there are bus routes that cross there and that the nearby park could be a good place for a station vault or staging. Wasn’t the 1.5 block for Capitol Hill Station fenced for 6-7 years?

      The SLU appears to be the tricky one to me. How it negotiates running underneath Aurora will govern how deep and where the station would be. A 90-degree turn must start/end almost at Aurora. Republican looks very narrow. A station vault will be hard to put into place in 2025 after Republican is opened to traffic for several years. I’m not sure how interfacing with RapidRide E could be easily done there or if ST even cares. If the station ends up west of Aurora – like between 5th and Aurora, it won’t seem close to a Denny Station.

      1. Exactly, that little park on the corner of Westlake & Denny is the perfect spot for a station entry (and/or staging). The station needs to straddle Denny to allow for entering/exiting the station without having to cross the busy street which also helps tremendously with bus transfers.

        I even think Westlake-2 station should be between Olive & Pine (not between Pike & Pine), so that it can better serve the area north of Pine by Amazon. (You’d connect by foot into Westlake-1 underground at the Pine & 6th corner). There is quite a coverage gap currently being shown between Westlake-2 and Denny stations. About the only place downtown with underutilized parcels is that block north of Olive where the streetcar terminates (the low density Bank of America block) as well as the block north of Pacific Place with an Art Deco tower and another small historic tower, but the rest of the block is parking lot or parking garage. That could be a private development actually designed to integrate into the new Westlake-2 station in the way the Washington Mutual Tower (now 1201 Third) did 30+ years ago at University Street.

        The only reason a SLU station **right** at Aurora makes any sense is for an easy transfer to the Aurora bus lines, otherwise its just your typical station located in the freeway deadzone that we see in so many suburban oriented transit lines.

        I think its also fair to assume all these stations in this stretch from ID to Queen Anne are going to be under the street, there seems to be no available land for clearing a block, building the station under it and then redeveloping it after like with Capitol Hill and Roosevelt. I think its actually a good thing, because entries and exits can be on both sides of the street so you can have connecting buses run right over the station on the street.

      2. Yes, I think the Capitol Hill station construction staging had that area closed off for some six plus years. The Beacon Hill twin tunnels were bored in 2007 and 2008 I believe, so about 10-11 years ago.

      3. >> I suspect Denny Station is the placeholder because there are bus routes that cross there

        That is likely temporary. Eventually buses move away from congested Denny, and use Harrison, where hopefully bus lanes exist. That means the 8 from Capitol Hill would go on Denny across the freeway, then north on Fairview, west on Harrison. Westlake does have the streetcar and the C, but in both cases the tail ends of the route (largely irrelevant). From a bus standpoint, the advantage of Westlake is a good connection to the 40. Fairview has the advantage of connecting to the Roosevelt RapidRide (the 70).

        Given all that, the stop at Aurora and Harrison is great. It works for serving South Lake Union (via the 8). It doesn’t serve the 40, but it serves the E. It also isn’t too far from the 40 (about 3 blocks).

        Ideally the other stop would be in Belltown, but that isn’t going to happen. Westlake and Denny is not that bad. You have a good connection to the 40. From a bus connection standpoint, it is about the same as Westlake and Fairview. One connects to the 40, the other the 70.

        The big problem is exactly as poncho said — the stops are too close together. If you moved the Westlake stop closer to Westlake station, it makes the situation worse. You pretty much ruin the value of that stop for the bulk of the riders — those coming from the north. It wouldn’t be worth the transfer just to go up the street a few blocks. That is why Westlake and Fairview is probably the best we can do. That connects to the east-west bus (the 8) as well as the north-south bus (the 70), while putting the stop a bit farther away from the other two. There would be more places within a short walk, because you would have less overlap.

        All that being said, Westlake and Denny is not a bad stop, especially with tunnels allowing for crossing the street easily (as suggested). I think Fairview and Denny is better, but if you can build Westlake and Denny for a lot less money, that is a reasonable choice.

    2. I would concur with others pointing out that a Denny Station would be better for riders if it’s south of Denny.

      1. That was several of the feedbacks in the Ballard open house, that the Denny station should be moved a few blocks south to fill the wide, densifying gap between Westlake and Denny.

      2. If you put the station at Denny it isn’t that big of a gap. Remember, this isn’t the main line. If you are coming from the north, most people won’t bother making the transfer unless it is worth the effort. Too close to Westlake station, and you might as well walk. If this was part of the main line, I would agree — put the station a couple blocks south of Denny — but it isn’t.

  5. Al, just go to SF and watch BART operate for five minutes. And see if you can imagine a line of buses carrying anywhere near those passenger loads and entering, loading, and leaving those stations, anywhere near that fast. Or stopping that safely and smoothly.

    On track that isn’t solid ice, the weight of a train holds it to the rails a lot better than rubber does on pavement. Period. But chief limitation of either buses or joint use is that buses cannot be coupled.

    Meaning that, carrying equivalent passenger loads, a four car train is now 360 feet long stopped at the platform. But to maintain safe following distance, steadily stretching itself with every additional mile an hour.

    At 60mph, a length of space that on a train would carry hundreds of crush-loaded passengers, a line of buses will carry nothing but dirty air. I’ll be proud all my life of our Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel.

    Always intended to get future rail passengers moving years before there was any money or inter-municipality agreement to get rail. And to get our rail tunnel under Third before somebody put parking for a skyscraper permanently in its way.

    And always considered temporary. Nobody could, or should have made it permanent for the number of passengers we’d definitely carry. Much sentiment that day before opening of UW Station should’ve been Tunnel buses’ last.

    On your point about spacing- having to wait before entering stations- as just about everything does in DSTT- LINK trains already have an automatic train control system that takes care of spacing.

    Right now, engaged only on the elevated sections, where nothing non-train else can intrude. Trains driver-controlled where cross traffic exists at all. Doubt if that condition will ever see an ST-3 dime. Or that it’ll exist anywhere when MLK cross-streets are finally undercut.

    Different conditions, different machines. Pretty much world standard for everything.


  6. Ten days until the Everett Transit Strategic Plan comes out…

    12:30 p.m.
    City Council
    3002 Wetmore Ave, Everett
    City Council Chambers

    Maybe we could have a pregame tailgate or postgame meet-up for us North by Northwesteners?


  7. I was surprised the Smith Cove station was at Expedia’s front door, not actually at the cove. I was expecting them to put the station a bit closer to the port facilities, but the double bridges where Magnolia meets Elliott might be very difficult to navigate. The block of land around the Armory & the Whole Foods should be ripe for re-development?

    If Expedia builds a true mega-campus (>5,000 workers), that will be a great station. But otherwise that seems like an unnecessarily limited walkshed.

    I like having the LQA station a full block south of Mercer. That makes for a better walkshed (there is much more south of Mercer than north), plus those Seattle Center buildings between the arena & Republican can all be torn down for the station vault and then nice new ones rebuilt afterwards.

    But I’m surprised the representative alignment then follows Republican all the way to Elliott. There really isn’t a logical tunnel portal around there. I think it makes much more sense to shift over to Mercer and have the portal leverage all the open space around Kinnear Park.

    1. Absolutely agree. Hug the base of the hill and you avoid the very big problems at the curve. Yes, it makes the walk to Expedia a half-block longer but it allows a much less intrusive station

    2. “I was surprised the Smith Cove station was at Expedia’s front door, not actually at the cove. I was expecting them to put the station a bit closer to the port facilities, but the double bridges where Magnolia meets Elliott might be very difficult to navigate. The block of land around the Armory & the Whole Foods should be ripe for re-development?”

      If you’re referring to the triangle bounded by Armory Way, Wheeler Street, and 15th Avenue, it’s being developed as we speak! And, of course, the National Guard has long wanted to move. Lastly, Terminal 91 is vastly underutilized and there have been plans floated to develop the north section of it as well. Lots of development potential in Interbay. Don’t forget the golf course, too.

      1. Yes, that’s the spot. What’s the current development plans?

        Golf course is city park land, I believe, so while it may not be a golf course in the future, it will likely be a public park of some form.

    3. Expedia’s long-term plans call for “up to” 4500 employees and in the short-term building 3300 parking spaces to accommodate the 3500 employees who will be making the move. My guess is that even when light rail arrives in like 2074, most folks will still drive.

    4. The Expedia stop is a good example of why the Interbay alignment is weaker than the UW alignment. There really is very little between Lower Queen Anne and Dravus but they figured they might as well add a station somewhere. So next to Expedia makes as much sense as anywhere. But the stop is bad for a couple reasons. First of all, it is hemmed in by the sea and the greenbelt. That means that if you walk a few blocks west you are in the water; a few blocks east and you have no one (except the occasional homeless camp).

      The Interbay stop is better, but still not great. Dravus works very well as a bus intercept. But it isn’t great in terms of walk-up riders. The park and the railroad tracks take up a big chunk of the available land. Again, draw a 1/4 mile radius circle around Dravus and 15th and you end up with a lot of open space. Moving the station east or west doesn’t really help things either. That is the problem — it really makes sense as an express bus line (similar to the E) rather than a subway, where you want as many stops as possible. Running along 15th is cheaper, except we went elevated, and will have to pay for another expensive crossing of the ship canal. Spending money on a line that is not a great value *per mile* is a just not a good idea, even though it is by far the best value in ST3.

  8. Here’s how I understand the transition:

    Angle Lake to Northgate (6 min peak headways)
    Angle Lake to Northgate (as the Red Line) (reduced to 8 min peak headways)
    Overlake to Northgate (as the Blue Line) (8 min peak headways)
    Federal Way to Lynnwood (Red Line – 8 min peak)
    Downtown Redmond to Lynnwood (Blue Line – 8 min peak)
    West Seattle to Sodo (GREEN Line – undetermined headway)
    Tacoma to Lynnwood (Red Line – 8 min peak)
    Downtown Redmond to Lynnwood (Blue Line – 8 min peak)
    West Seattle to Lynnwood (switches from Green to Red – 8 min peak)
    Ballard to Tacoma (Green – 6 min peak)
    Downtown Redmond to Lynnwood (Blue – 6 min peak)
    West Seattle to Everett (Red – 6 min peak)
    Ballard to Tacoma (Green – 6 min peak)
    Downtown Redmond to Mariner P&R (Blue – 6 min peak)

    Note that the Rainier Valley peak headways slip from 6 to 8 for the years 2023-2035 (albeit with all 4-car trains), that the West Seattle line will need to switch colors after 5 years of operation, and from 2030-2035 the full spine will come the closest it will come to its original fever dream (running from Tacoma to Lynnwood).

    Does this seem correct?

    1. I think that’s the ST3 concept for 2030.

      However, I’m not convinced that the 101-minute Link trip from Lynnwood to Tacoma is going to sync with driver requirements. When ST gets serious about both scheduling and branding, it wouldn’t surprise me if the WestSeattle-Lynnwood line begins running in 2030. The pushback would be from the Eastside, because it would require a double-transfer to get to SeaTac. It could be argued that the 405 BRT provides that linkage — but once the rail is operating in its own ROW, I just cannot fathom that Eastside people will eagerly forgo Link to hop on a 405 bus to and from the airport.

      If ST changes its design plans and actually has two cross-platform transfers at SODO, then there could even be a SeaTac/Tacoma train waiting for the trains headed south. It’s just one more reason why ST needs to design cross-platform trains at SODO — one level (two boarding platforms) for northbound trains and one level (two boarding platforms) for southbound trains.

  9. My ORCA card finally died. It got weaker and weaker over the past two weeks and the readers had more trouble recognizing it or completing the transaction. I knew there was a customer service office somewhere in Pioneer Square so I looked at the ORCA site for the address, and there wasn’t any address there. So I looked at the Metro site and found the customer service office at 2nd & Jackson. The guy exchanged it right away and didn’t charge a $5 fee. I was ready to argue if they did want to charge a fee or tell me to go home and register the card and come back. (I think I registered it years ago but I do all my renewals at TVMs so I never go online.)

    I said it was one of the original cards and asked if this is how long they usually last. He said, “Ten years? That’s an unusually long time. Most of them wear out before then.” That’s even more interesting because I use the card a lot, often five or six times a day. Maybe it’s like breathing on plants: the more you tap the better it thrives.

    1. I don’t know if this would be part of that, but I am intrigued by the idea of co-locating a Sounder and Link station at Dravus.

      Not even so much for Sounder North, which seems like it is going to end up being redundant, but for Sounder South which instead of ending at King Street could go north to Dravus if Sounder North were deleted.

      Purely hypothetical of course, as I’ve no idea if there would be ridership to support that.

      1. Extending Sounder northward seems very duplicative. I’m sure there will be a few riders (say, someone commuting from Auburn to Expedia), but those people can simply transfer to Link at King Street.

        Using the freight ROW rather than the 15th ROW seems fine. I’m good with whichever is cheaper, because I think the station walksheds are pretty comparable.

        My favorite part is watching each neighborhood group try to fund their nice things by suggesting the segments in other neighborhoods can be delayed or made provisional.

      2. it’s definitely a ‘pie fight’ – hehe

        I guess i am thinking south sounder could serve as a sort of express to the interbay/ballard area, but you’re right it is duplicative.

        Has ST said if North Sounder is going away once Link gets to Everett? If North Sounder doesn’t go away then a co-located stop at Dravus, might be of more use. I know people that work downtown, and live in Edmonds, who prefer to drive to a park and ride than take South Sounder because there is only the one stop and then there is the walk up and over to find a bus or train to get back uptown.

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