Yesterday we discussed the first cut of alternatives for light rail to West Seattle. Today we’ll focus on Ballard and Interbay at the opposite end of the line. The general route is a familiar one, dating back to Forward Thrust in 1968, showing up again in the Monorail vote in 1997, briefly making an appearance in the 2013 Sound Transit studies and emerging in 2012 as the RapidRide D line, the second-busiest route in Metro’s system with over 14,000 daily riders. While there have been many arguments about the merits of connecting Ballard via UW (arguments which almost certainly will be rehashed in the comments section below), regional and city planners have long preferred the downtown connection via Interbay and 15th Avenue W.
This route, however, presents no shortage of challenges. Though 15th Ave is wide and flat, there are conflicts with Magnolia bridges, BNSF rail tracks, a golf course, and, of course, the ship canal crossing. The route that appeared on the 2016 ballot looks like this:
After community input, there are 6 alternatives under consideration.
A few tradeoffs are at play in these alternatives:
- Stay west through Interbay and avoid conflicts with Fisherman’s terminal or hug 15th Ave and have a shorter route to Ballard
- Cross the canal via an expensive tunnel or a bridge with construction and permitting impacts
- Optimize the Ballard terminus for 2035’s riders or tilt towards possible eastward expansion
Emerging from a tunnel near Kinnear Park, all options would stop at Smith Cove. In addition to serving the future Expedia headquarters, Metro envisions using Smith Cove station as a major bus transfer point. From Smith Cove, there are three broad routing options: the first stays as far west as possible, travelling along the wide, flat 20th Avenue W on an elevated guideway (a route made easier if the Magnolia Bridge is removed), to a stop at 20th & Dravus St. A second option threads the narrow buffer between the rail yard and the golf course, a less populated area, to a station in the industrial area around 17th & Bertona. The final route option stays on 15th Avenue in an elevated guideway.
Heading north from Dravus we get to the most contentious questions. The first of these is how to cross the ship canal. A high fixed bridge would have to be 160 feet or so to allow maritime traffic to pass underneath. A movable bridge could have a lower profile, but the trains may have to stop a few times per day for boat traffic. A tunnel has the least amount of disruption but also may end up costing more. ST cautions that tunnel options “may require 3rd party funding.”
Once we’ve crossed the canal, we have a few options. 20th & Market is the westernmost and closest to the historic core of Ballard. 15th & Market is the most direct coming from the bridge and is our baseline assumption. 17th & Market gets you a bit closer to old Ballard, while another option at 14th Ave NW & NW 51st St puts you in an out-of-the-way industrial area that would be easiest to construct but poorly situated from a walkshed perspective.
- Elliot/15th/16th/Fixed Bridge (purple) is the minimum bar for an acceptable line: fixed bridge that never opens, good bus transfers at 15th & Market, and an easy turn East towards UW if that’s in the cards.
- West of BNSF/20th/17th/Fixed Bridge (gold) would avoid conflicts with Fisherman’s Terminal and put the Ballard station in a good spot at 17th & Market, but in an elevated station.
- East of BNSF/14th/Movable Bridge (light blue) would have a poorly-sited Smith Cove station a movable bridge, and a Ballard station much farther east of the historic core. If you want to build light rail on the cheap and also make it inconvenient and unreliable, this is the option for you.
- West of BNSF/20th/17th/Tunnel (dark blue) avoids Fisherman’s terminal and tunnels into Ballard to a station just south of Ballard Swedish Hospital.
- Elliott/Armory Way/14th/Tunnel (magenta) like the light blue line, this route focuses on mitigating construction impacts but also includes a tunnel to avoid even more conflicts with Salmon Bay commercials activities.
- West of BNSF/20th/Tunnel (turquoise) is a straight shot on 20th, through a tunnel and an underground station location at 20th & Market. High marks for station location, reliability, and aesthetics, but with a high cost both in real dollars and construction impacts. it also makes the turn East to UW somewhat more difficult.
Assuming money for a tunnel magically materializes, West of BNSF/20th/17th/Tunnel (dark blue) gets the high score. In addition to good ridership, it scores highest in ST’s scorecard by being pragmatic about future expansion and construction impacts. West of BNSF/20th/Tunnel (turquoise) probably snags the most riders in Ballard proper, but bus transfers would be less direct.
Assuming no tunnel funding, West of BNSF/20th/17th/Fixed Bridge (gold) mitigates the most commercial impacts while still providing good station locations. If I were a betting man, I’d say that’s the most likely unless money is tight or people freak out about an elevated train crossing over the south end of Ballard Ave, in which case we’ll probably end up with Elliot/15th/16th/Fixed Bridge (purple). The relative merits of an Interbay station at 15th vs 20th depend greatly on how Seattle updates the zoning code in the Station area. There is plenty of multifamily on 20th, but it drops off to single-family zoning pretty quickly.
The more detailed analysis will come in the next round, where we’ll see exactly what kind of construction impacts we’re looking at and how much people really value a station at 15th & Market.
69 Replies to “ST3 Level 1 Alternatives: Ballard & Interbay”
Does the Smith Cove station include some kind of connection to Sounder for transfers?
It was mentioned by many.
In this area, ST appears to use the excuse of not being included in ST3 plan.
The crazy thing about that approach is that the ST3 representative plan concept was never studied in the prior Downtown-Ballard Study! It has NEVER before been compared in a public evaluation!
So, it appears that the North Sounder connection idea isn’t even worthy of a mention in an alternative.
Al, it doesn’t matter what gets studied and asked for. As part of the Ballard Transit Study, the public overwhelmingly preferred the tunneled UQA/Fremont alignment. ST threw that right in the garbage and as always, takes the path of least resistance and does what it wants to.
The budget has something to do with it, and West Seattle.
While I’ve always been skeptical of ideas to build a Sounder station in Ballard that would involve back-tracking for anyone trying to get to it, the idea of locating the Interbay station to work with a Sounder transfer is majorly intriguing. It may even significantly help out with multiple downtown Link capacity issues.
Riders from Snohomish County wanting to get to SLU could transfer from Sounder to Ballard Link.
Riders from Ballard trying to get past downtown faster could transfer Link to Sounder, and not clog Link between SLU and the ID.
Locate the stations where property ownership allows for a TOD hub, and it could be a win-win-win.
Does the north Sounder line really need to run in perpetuity post ST3 anyway? Link is projected to take about the same amount of time as Sounder from Everett to Seattle, while serving many more stops along the way. That leaves only Edmonds and Mukilteo, which comprise only a small portion of the Sounder ridership that isn’t all that big to begin with.
It’s South Sounder to which Ballard Link would transfer. I agree that post-Link to Everett, there’s little to no use for North Sounder. There’s adequate room at Interbay Yard for a couple of train reversal tracks. Terminate South Sounder there and save some congestion at IDS. During the peak hours BNSF tries to avoid running freights anyway.
In that case please call it South Sounder or Dupont-Interbay Sounder when referring to it, because I also assumed it was Sounder North.
I do think Sounder North should be canceled, and ideally should already be canceled to get Lynnwood and Everett Link finished sooner. But ST has refused to cancel it so far, and has given no indication that it might cancel it in the future. When questioned, ST says it’s reluctant to cancel a voter-approved service, which it sees as a permanent mandate.
The ridership case for Sounder north has always been dubious to begin with (buses to downtown are faster than the train for every station except for Edmonds), and every extension of Link northward makes the case for Sounder north ever weaker. When it goes to Lynnwood, there will already be a fast, traffic-immune way into Seattle. When Link goes all the way to Everett – at the exact same station where Sounder goes, no less – even people who show up waiting for Sounder will more likely than not see a Link train go by first – and will probably end up in downtown faster if they take the Link train that comes first.
Even if Sounder North does go away, RailPlus can remain for those that really want to go the coastal route.
A South Sounder extension to Smith Cove station is an interesting proposition, but I’m quite skeptical about its feasibility. At a minimum, to extend south Sounder to Smith Cove, North Sounder would have to end there, and not go to King St. station (or be discontinued entirely) – otherwise, you would have two trains trying to travel opposite directions through the same single-track tunnel at the same time. Trying to schedule the trains to avoid conflicts would make for a very brittle system where the slightest delay would result in the train sitting there, waiting its turn for 20+ minutes. However, even if North Sounder were out of the picture, BNSF would still likely prohibit it, or at least extort far more money out of Sound Transit than what the service would be worth. Furthermore, there is already a south Sounder->Link transfer at the International District station, so I don’t think we need another one further north.
“even people who show up waiting for Sounder will more likely than not see a Link train go by first – and will probably end up in downtown faster if they take the Link train that comes first.”
If they just miss a Sounder train, there will be four Link trains before the next Sounder train. If they take Link they’ll definitely get to downtown earlier because Link’s travel time and Sounder’s are the same within a minute or two. (Except Link will arrive at Westlake and Sounder at King Street., FWIW.
The Ballard line should run elevated replacing the monorail on 5th and end at westlake with express elevators for transfers at westlake station. A second DT tunnel is not required. The money saved could be used to tunnel under the ship canal.
The previous (serious) attempt to build a monorail ran into an emphatic “No” on the idea of demolishing the current monorail. It is under the purview of the Seattle Center, which skims the operating profit off the monorail to help fund Seattle Center programs. They are not going to easily give up their carnival ride fundraiser for useful high-capacity transit. Even the ORCAzation of the monorail appears to be going as slow as politics will allow it to.
The latest word is ORCA might be accepted as early as March 2019. Maybe. No deadline.
But the City has not confirmed that it has taken the step of asking King County Metro to sponsor the monorail’s admission into the ORCA pod. Nor has the County answered my straight question of whether the City has made the ask. Nor have I seen it come up on the ORCA pod’s monthly agendae.
Why the City can’t piggyback the monorail on the Seattle Streetcar’s admission to the ORCA pod is a puzzler, unless you understand the politics is to give hope of ORCAzation, and then to find excuses to stall. Having one run by SDOT and one run by the Seattle Center shouldn’t rise to the level of the City having to have two memberships in the ORCA pod.
That there are people like me not going to spend money at the Seattle Center until the monorail becomes fare-integrated has not moved the ball any faster. But they do raise the (possibly false, but possibly used to bargain for more transit funding) hope of moving forward for the sake of an NHL franchise.
With just joining ORCA, I think the monorail’s ridership could double overnight. If it does, it should be factored into Ballard Link’s routing. If not, ST should assume its obsolesence once Ballard Link opens.
On the larger question of skipping South Lake Union: That’s not gonna happen.
The city, metro and the monorail authority better get the fare integration done by the time the NHL arrives so that the transit situation won’t be a bigger clusterf*ck than it will already be. Murray and the council were pushing this as a given in the negotiations leading up to the deal with OVG.
Thanks to Seattle politics, I can picture those long lines leading out of Westlake Park mall of fans trying the make the 7pm faceoff while a lone ticket booth clerk tries to make change for said fans to get on the monorail.
Considering how old the Monorail is, I doubt it could be retrofitted for Link at reasonable cost.
Ultimately, once Link opens and the Monorail system reaches end of life, I would like to see the elevated structure repurposed as a Seattle version of the High Line in New York. It would be quite popular, and bring the Seattle Center a lot of foot traffic. It could also have stairs every block or two to connect to Belltown as well.
The Monorail has always really worked fine for its intended purpose: a horizontal elevator between Downtown Seattle and Seattle Center. And since DSTT opened, no reason to consider it.
From the north end, could extend to the new arena. Could also have at least one station through Belltown. Of course the trains can be either refitted or replaced. ORCA? Any time City of Seattle wants.
Crazy idea… extend the monorail southeastaardly to a First Hill station. Infill Belltown station on existing route. Extend north from Seattle Center to Lower Queen Anne Link station.
The Monorail supports are not wide enough for light rail trains, period. They’re also very likely not sturdy enough to support the guideway and much heavier trains.
I’m depressed that a multi-modal bridge and extensions north were determined to be out of the ST3 scope. Both of these would be very useful for the city; hopefully they can be brought back with city funding if nothing else.
I’m not depressed; I’m pissed off. I live in the corner of Greenwood that nobody calls Greenwood, where the D Line and off-peak 28X terminate. The D Line was supposed to be the monorail’s “local shadow” as far back as the turn of the millennium but we didn’t build the monorail and we did build the D Line but the D had to get turned into a “local express” that stops every few blocks so it’s no more rapid than the “local” 40.
But instead of getting any HCT in my lifetime, where I live has been deemed “insufficiently dense” so instead of improving service ahead of massive building (and maybe even connecting one corner of Greenwood with the rest), we’re going to lose the relatively-straight D (routing it down 85th) in favor of the “covers all over everywhere” 40 and *still* not get any grade-separated connection to downtown because pulling Link up to where the monorail was supposed to end–85th and 15th–is “not in scope.”
I’ve also been hoping for a better connection to the U District but it looks like that’ll rely on the gets-here-when-it-gets-here-and-hope-you-like-the-coverage-through-NSC-or-backups-under-Interstate-5 route 40 to Link.
Sorry; in addition to trying to make a salient point, I guess I’m also just ranting a little because living within walking distance of a Link station is never going to be affordable for me and the early proposals to “restructure” bus service around where I *do* live have been super disappointing to me but I guess not enough people agree with me because the proposals never seem to change.
I understand that part of this is just venting feelings (i.e., a rant), but to your points:
1. The D was part ot fhe five-line RapidRide project, which predated the monorail. (There was a capital vote whose name I can’t remember, and then it was slashed by Initiative 601.) Metro originally marketed it as “like Swift”, implying it would be limited-stop with a local overlay. Later Metro said it couldn’t afford a limited-stop overlay so it went to these compromise routes, with fewer stops but “no neighborhood left behind”. It’s unclear how much Metro originally intended limited-stop service vs. whether it overlooked that that would be an implication if it compared it to Swift. But in any case, what we got was these in-between routes, in the same way that Link is in between a half-mile-stop subway and 2+ mile commuter rail.
2. The problems with the D’s speed are twofold: lack of transit lanes, and the Uptown detour (as opposed to the 15X route). The number of stops may be a lesser issue, but I think that if it would only use the 15X’s route in Interbay, that would make people more satisfied with it. Still, it’s remarkable that the D has become Metro’s second-highest-ridership route: I still don’t understand that. It must be that RapidRide’s branding is really successful, or that people like routes with real-time signs (as I do).
3. I think Metro wanted to extend the D to Northgate but couldn’t afford enough red buses and street enhancements, so it sent the 40 to Northgate instead. (The D and 40 were created at the same time.) To me it seems more logical for the 40 to go on 85th and the D on Holman Road, but Metro did the opposite and somehow prefers that long-term.
4. It’s a values judgment how critical is Holman Road vs the lack of Ballard-Northgate service on 85th, but I can see that 85th is a large underserved community.
5. The Link extension to 85th and possibly later to Northgate (and Lake City and Bothell) is not quite the same as Metro’s issue. In ST’s mind the essential corridor is downtown to Market Street. 85th was a “if funds available” extension. Well, funds are not available because North King is red hot on a DSTT2/SLU tunnel and West Seattle and 130th and Graham Stations, and North King’s budget is packed full. I think that’s what ST means by rejecting the extension, and it was just lazy in categorizing it as “outside the scope of ST3” as if it’s an extension to Alki or White Center.
6. ST’s long-range plan has an Aurora line from downtown to Lynnwood, so it might be possible to position that as an extension of the Ballard line (i.e., from 85th/15th). Of course that depends on whether omitting lower Aurora is acceptable; Fremont might be must-serve. (Another alternative, downtown-Ballard-Northgate-Lake City-Bothell, is less likely because while Northgate-Bothell is in the LRP, 65th, 85th, and Holman Road are not. However, the LRP will be updated for ST4, so there might be possibilities there. On the other hand, ST might be unwilling to construct in ST4 anything that wasn’t planned in ST3, and so it might only be willing to plan it in ST4 and construct it in ST5. That is, assuming that ST4 and ST5 ever happen. There are opinions on both sides of that, and whether the subares can remain united in tax rates that long.)
7. Re Ballard-UW, many people here including myself wish ST would give it higher priority. I wish ST3 had either (A) Ballard-UW Link, Ballard-downtown Link, and West Seattle BRT, or (B) Ballard-UW Link and West Seattle Link, rather than Ballard-downtown Link and West Seattle Link. But McGinn was the one who championed Ballard-downtown Link and got ST to accelerate its planning (and accelerate ST3), and Murray and everyone else followed suit, and nobody except transit fans prioritize Ballard-UW. I also wish ST would pre-plan transfer interfaces at U-District and Market Street, but ST always refuses to. So all we know is that Ballard-UW Link will presumably be top priority in ST4, and transfers may or may not be ridiculously horrible.
5. The Link extension to 85th and possibly later to Northgate
(and Lake City and Bothell)
Scratch that last part. I thought Market Street to Northgate was in ST’s LRP but when I looked at the 2015 update it isn’t, as I said in #6.
Nevertheless ST did hint at various times that the Ballard line could terminate at 65th or 85th if funds were available, so it can’t walk that back now.
Transit Now, that was the name of the vote. It included RapidRide and more hours for other routes.
Does anyone else have a problem with the “not in ST3” excuse about adding infill stations in this segment? The station spacing is quite far (just two between the Key Arena area and the Canal). This in an area that already has a few multi-story residential buildings and a great potential for TOD. Adding one more station won’t disrupt a longer trip because the line is not ever going to be that long (compared to other lines).
Where would you suggest adding a station(s)?
Between Interbay and Smith Cove Stations, like just north of the Magnolia Bridge to south of Gilman.
I would also work with the community on the west side of Queen Anne (already with condos and mid-rise apartments) to develop an access strategy.
It seems so silly to not take advantage of infill stations even as placeholders. It’s always cheaper to add an infill station later as opposed to longer extensions that encourage sprawl — but only if we plan for them.
The problems of putting in a station at Graham is a good example of the difficulty of adding an infill station later. Had ST designed the corner there for an eventual platform, an infill station would have been so much easier and cheaper!
I agree, the stop spacing is terrible. The problem is that the stations are bad. Terminating various bus routes at Smith Cove may help that station get into the decent range. Interbay will be a decent (but not great) station. But everything else — including the one you mentioned — will perform very poorly. There can’t be any crossing bus service. It is very industrial there, with a green belt on one side, and railroad tracks and the sea on the other.
I suppose you could try and squeeze in a station next to Whole Foods. But right now, that station would be terrible. I think ridership would tiny there, as hardly anyone lives close to that spot. Eventually you might see some growth, but you are still ultimately limited by the railroad tracks. You also aren’t that far from the Interbay Athletic Complex (so that would eat into ridership). If you moved the station any farther north, it makes it a bit easier for the apartments on the hill, but closer to that greenfield. Any station in the area would require the trains to have pull cords, so that people could request a stop, as they do with the buses. Otherwise all day long you are just stopping, opening and closing with nobody getting on or off (I’m just joking about the pull cords, but not about ridership there).
By the way, this is one of the big weaknesses of this route compared to the Ballard to UW one. With Ballard to UW, you have decent stop spacing, and every station is good. The worst one would be at 8th NW, but even it has a crossing bus route, and people in every direction (in houses that should be rezoned to apartments even before it gets a rail line). [Frank was right — can’t help but talk about Ballard to UW ;) ]
it may feel somewhat desolate, but this infill station location has several good things.
1. It puts the cruise ship terminal within walking distance. Sure there are special surges, but there are lots of employees and visitors to cruise ships.
2. Pedestrian stairs or even an elevator tower to this part of Queen Anne would be a big access game-changer. I have a friend who lives on Gilmsn and when I visit I am often surprised about its density. It rivals the Avalon area.
3. The station itself could spur TOD. The southwest views from Queen Anne hill are spectacular! Plus, the Whole Foods site could easily be replaced by a multi-story building.
The current spacing in most alternatives are horrible for anyone nearby between Magnolia Bridge and Gilman. It reminds me of the distance problem between Othello and Columbia City.
Assuming the west of BNSF routing, the Dravus station might be useful for a Magnolia reconfiguration that routes the 31 and 33 parallel to it. It would mean passengers wouldn’t have to slog all the way to the Expedia station to get to Link. It means some parts of Magnolia get to be two blocks further from the 31 and 33.
1) It makes way mores sense to run a shuttle bus for cruise ship riders and employees. Besides, it wouldn’t be that much closer than the Smith Cove station, unless you put it very close to the Magnolia Bridge, which is a terrible place in terms of serving every day walk-up passengers.
2) If you put the station close to the bridge, then you do have a path. But again, you have a lot of greenway in the middle. The closest houses are well up on the hill (and they are just houses).
Gilman is different. There are apartments there, and that is where you would put the station (if you did that). But it is very challenging to serve those folks. Consider a station at Newton. That is good for a couple of blocks, but then you can’t go any farther — you have to detour north or south. The result is that areas that are close as the crow flies are a long walk (https://goo.gl/maps/fGXnCBCGoTG2). Boston is much better, but then you very close to the golf course.
3). The problem isn’t lack of development, it is that there is nowhere to develop. Sure, you could squeeze in an apartment or two. But that’s it. Pretty soon you run across the railroad tracks or the park, while getting up the hill remains a challenge.
The answer for Gilman is to simply run a bus down it. It would start at the top of the hill and then go past the Dravus station (like so — https://goo.gl/maps/n6RVtx2u4nL2). From there, who knows? It could keep going over to Ballard or pick up some of the new 31/32 route as I describe below.
Speaking of which, Glenn, I don’t think station placement matters much to the folks on East Magnolia who would access it via a bus. Put a station at 15th and Dravus (as planned) and all East Magnolia buses go through there. I would send the 31/32 to Dravus, over the railroad tracks, and split from there (one heads towards Discovery Park, the other towards the bridge).
I would actually do the 31/32 change now. The 31 is another route that looks good on paper, but doesn’t work very well. Connecting to the D is very difficult. There is only one stop at Fisherman’s Terminal, and it isn’t far at all from the stop that the 33 serves. So I would just run this: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1EDI0cT31ZpXXYpZuQCUUlWb8xQU&usp=sharing. For now the 33 would still exist, but as soon as Link gets to Interbay, it goes away, and you bump up the headways of the 31 and 32 a bit.
In general, this is one of those corridors where you really can’t justify more staions, but at the same time, will need a shadow bus. Consider the area close to Nickerson (here is a view looking east — https://goo.gl/maps/qASFHhxSnaH2). You can see there are quite a few apartments nestled in there. But a stop there would only serve that area. To the west there are roads and railroad tracks. To the north there is the Ballard Bridge. You are in no-man’s land — not enough to justify a train stop, but enough to require a bus stop.
ST is being naive or secretive about the big looming operations problem:
The frequency of trains needed to carry the loads between SLU and Downtown is too high to continue the trains to the Rainier Valley and run on the MLK median.
This is obviously going to operate as a two-line segment.
The sad thing about this is that no alternative has any branching for the future even considered and every proposed Ballard Station is oriented to the north (only one is not at a full north-south direction). This is different from West Seattle, where the end station alternatives consider expansion. As is repeatedly mentioned by many groups, this line should be designed to extend both to the north and east; if ST is considering a design for a future extension in West Seattle, how can they justify not considering that here too?
I agree that a second look at which lines should connect where is merited. I see Ballard Link as a good match with East Link, from a perspective of getting the best single-seat trips that would be in demand.
But I don’t know if it would be a capacity match.
The way to future-proof the ability to change up alignments is to make sure the track crossovers are built that would allow for each possible alignment.
One point on which I will disagree with Zach’s otherwise outstanding analysis is that running a train from Everett to Tacoma is feasible.
If it takes two conductors, so be it. Swapping a conductor is much faster than swapping whole trainloads of passengers, and can be done much more quickly than the extra stop at the SODO base that unnecessarily halts trains for a couple extra minutes.
Relief conductor boards at one station, gets to the cockpit by the next station. Conductors switch out while passengers alight and board at that station. Relieved conductor alights at the next station.
Reverse the pattern for that conductor to take over a train headed back whence she/he came.
Make sure employee-only restrooms are built into all stations.
A few years ago before ST3, I suggested that ST develop load-based operations concept alternatives before building any more track and stations. They didn’t.
After ST3, I suggested that idea again — before getting into these corridor design studies. They didn’t.
ST is still designing light rail as a concept and not as an addition to an existing system with crowding issues. It seems as though they have yet to fully move the leadership and management culture. The mere fact that so many senior staff have never worked for rail systems anywhere else and many board members haven’t lived with rail systems elsewhere really shows.
The existing track has a turnback at Stadium, so it’s reasonable to assume the new track will too, since ST hasn’t yet designated how many turnbacks or where. ST could run two lines’ worth of trains north of Stadium; it would just have to find the money to buy and operate the trains. I assume a future phase might have a second line from Ballard to… somewhere south of downtown. I can’t believe that the only purpose of DSTT2 is to avoid overcrowding in DSTT1: it must be intended as spare capacity for possible future lines too. MLK is a bottleneck, but that could be grade-separated just as easily as adding another line. So that could pave the way for a Ballard-Renton line.
I assume that Ballard-Georgetown-SeaTac is less interesting to ST or the public; Aurora-Georgetown-SeaTac would be more interesting. In that case, I wonder which I would like better: Ballard-Renton or Aurora-SeaTac? I think Ballard-Renton would be more useful to more underserved areas? (“Underserved” meaning further away from other Link alternatives.)
How about a line straight south along Airport Way from one tunnel of the other, with a possible stop at Boeing Field, and switching into the present structure up to Sea-Tac? Can understand starting with the at-grade line though Rainier Valley. That was where passenger load justified.
But name me a single other city in the world that would not have built an express line to the Airport by now. One more JDI (Just Do It). Make a good lapel pin and bumper sticker, wouldn’t it? For a lot else besides a straight line to the Airport. Both of them.
Everett to Tacoma? For that distance, same size trains as in Southern Sweden. Bathrooms in every car.
Could possibly run same track as LINK. But by the time we’re ready for these trains, there’ll be an electrified passenger corridor a lot closer to I-5 than the shoreline.
My bottom line with Ballard Link is that a bridge that opens for ship passage is unacceptable.
I prefer the station be close to 15th and Market for best bus rider cachement and ease of transfer, for more opportunity to build *new* TOD (while still having all the existing Olde Ballard TOD within its walkshed), and because that station location allows the fixed bridge to cross the Ship Canal perpendicularly.
Now that we’ve got battery buses, would love to present joint-use as a serious option in the LINK tunnel we really need into Ballard.
Would be worth it to hear 28 years of lazy operations and substandard training in DSTT used as absolute proof of what nameless people who ought to know better, but will always know who they are, will always believe they could never do.
If we set this up right, flashback of paralyzing terror will totally assure nobody notices that Ballard Open House date is April 1, 2019.
Does anyone wonder why we have a special Stakeholder’s Group but not a special Rider’s Group looking at these things? Why aren’t future system users put at an equal level? Are riders second-class citizens on rail transit?
I think that a special Rider’s Group should be convened the same week that the Stakeholfer’s Group meets — and be given the same opportunity for feedback.
Isn’t this like Metro’s sounding boards that include riders?
I’ve not seen how Metro interacts with riders. Do they meet monthly?
I know there are a few rider interests in the ST stakeholder group. Still, with riders expected to generate 40 percent of the revenue of the system, they should be given at least 40 percent of the consideration. That’s why riders should have their own group with equal consideration or be at least 40 percent of the stakeholders there. A more significant rider perspective is badly needed in this process.
They’re short-term groups formed to provide feedback on service-change proposals. Metro had one for the U-Link restructure. It asked for volunteers and chose what it considered a diverse group of people representing the community. That specifically includes riders. I thought ST’s advisory group was like that. “Stakeholder” means everyone who has an interest in the outcome: that includes riders as well as businesses and government.
It’s not about being represented. It’s about being proportionately represented.
What if Seattle’s Bicycle Plan review committee had only one or two bicyclist advocates? People would be outraged! This is the same issue.
Do you know who’s on the group? How do you know there are no riders there?
Al, Stakeholders’ meetings would get taken more seriously if chairman came in wearing a black top hat, holding a hammer and a sharp wood stake, a crucifix on a chain around his neck, and name-plate reading “Dr. Abraham Van Helsing”. Oh, and garlic cologne. Think he lives in Forks now.
I still think all event-presenters should be a tunnel engineer, hard-hat and all. Maybe one or two from the Chunnel. And Switzerland. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/09/15/the-long-dig. From audiences I’ve been among at these sessions, long time residents who’ve got some similar experience, I think discussions will rapidly get more positive and realistic.
For the West Seattle alternatives, proposals to increase or decrease the number of stations were kept on the table, with only a mention that it may or may not be consistent with ST3 (see yesterday’s article, the first of the series that includes this article). For the Ballard/Interbay alternatives (I.e. this article), proposals that change the number of stations were throw right into the “Not practical suggestions” bin. That’s inconsistent. Does anyone have any thoughts as to why changes to the number of stations would be potentially permissible for W Seattle, but not Interbay/Ballard? Or, more likely in my opinion, it’s just an erroneous inconsistency. It still matters though, because I can’t see Sound Transit taking seriously any of the West Seattle alternatives that change the number of stations while simultaneously saying such changes are impossible and not being considered for Ballard. My takeaway from this is that we can consider those West Seattle alternatives as off the table. Agreed?
ST has a culture of attributing things they don’t want to change as limited by prior decisions — unless they decide it’s okay to change them.
Recently, 145th Station couldn’t be moved to 130th — but could be suddenly moved to 148th, for example.
Of course the other consistency issue is contingencies for future expansion. If ST alternatives set up tracks to be extended later, the alternatives should also set up tracks to allow for infill stations and possible branching. They don’t here.
>> ST has a culture of attributing things they don’t want to change as limited by prior decisions — unless they decide it’s okay to change them.
Exactly. You can see that clearly with the proposals. Here are some things that are just fine, and basically what the voters wanted, according to the documents:
1) Getting rid of a station in West Seattle. .
2) Moving stations dramatically in West Seattle, making bus integration or walking to the station very difficult.
3) Building tunnels, even though the issue was discussed thoroughly before the proposal (and it was very clear that in Ballard and West Seattle there were to be no tunnels).
On the other hand, here are some things that aren’t acceptable:
4) Getting rid of a station downtown.
5) Moving the Madison Station three couple blocks east (doing so would be “not consistent with ST3 plan”).
6) Adding bike lanes to the bridge over Ballard.
There is great inconsistency here, obviously. Dramatically moving or deleting stations is OK in West Seattle, but “not consistent with ST3 plan” downtown. Elevated has its advantages and disadvantages, which means that some people (like me) would much prefer it, while others would prefer tunnels. Yet changing that would be consistent with the ST3 plan, while deleting stations in West Seattle wouldn’t.
The point is, I can see why any one of the first five items would upset people. You read the literature carefully, pushed for particulars when they were supposed to matter (before the proposal), got what you wanted, and then voted yes. Now they may change the thing out from under you, and build something completely different. Imagine you live on Avalon, are can’t wait for the day when you can walk a couple blocks and take the train into town. But instead they go with the West Seattle Golf Course/Alaska Junction plan, and you have a fifteen minute walk to the nearest station. What if you are one of the thousands of people who ride the bus on Delridge, and they go with the Yancy plan. So now, just as the bus is about to go over the West Seattle freeway, it begins a series of turns, just so you can connect to the train. What about a rider in Ballard, excited to see a high bridge soar over one of the prettiest cities in the world. Get on the train, look out at the Olympics on one side, Fremont and Queen Anne on other — that is a dream commute. Instead you are sent into a tunnel, and pop out right by the railroad tracks. Not at all what you voted for.
The only issue that is clearly an improvement is that last one (6). I can’t imagine anyone complaining about it. Yet for whatever reason, changes that will piss off a lot of people are being seriously considered (and considered as being in scope) while that change isn’t.
Just to be clear, if the plan changes because of lack of money I can understand that. But ST is basically making arbitrary choices and saying “this one is in scope, this one isn’t”.
“Getting rid of a station downtown”
Why is a champion of narrow stop spacing mentioning getting rid of a station downtown? Who wants to eliminate a station, and which ones? Are there people who want to delete Madison Station? That seems so un-downtown-like (not just for Seattle, but for any downtown). As to moving the station east, I would not call that eliminating a downtown station but as serving the greater downtown, just as any stations between Stewart and Denny may or may not be downtown depending on how you define downtown.
>> Why is a champion of narrow stop spacing mentioning getting rid of a station downtown?
Do you really think that ST is a champion of narrow stop spacing? Since when?
That isn’t even my point. The point is that ST puts out this document and says that moving, and even eliminating stations are just fine. Minor changes, so to speak. Same with tunneling. But enable bikes to go on the train — OMG — that is outside of scope! Oh, and it is OK to move a station in West Seattle (to the middle of nowhere) but move the Madison station 3 blocks east? Out of Scope! The hypocrisy shown by ST in this document is ridiculous.
What they consider OK, and not OK is ridiculous. Eliminating a station — any station — should be out of scope, as it is not at all what people voted for. Same with moving a stop well away from Delridge, Avalon, or the junction. Same with a tunnel, really. By all means we should look into sliding a station here or there a couple blocks, and absolutely we should consider creating *new stations* (like the ones the Urbanist suggested) or running bikes over the new Ballard Bridge (since the old one is dangerous and retrofitting for bikes is expensive). But if you are going to call out changes that are significantly different — and thus not in keeping with what people voted for — then at least be consistent.
It probably depends on the particular station, and yes staff’s preference. Could STB ask ST which stations in particular the Ballard item refers to and why each is impractical? Otherwise we have to guess.
The 145th/147th issue is not relevant. Two blocks is simply adjusting the station’s construction environment, like whether Capitol Hill is under Broadway or east of it or is closer to John or Pine; Anyone who can walk to 145th can walk to 147th, so it’s still within the definition of “145th Station”. 145th to 130th is far enough to be partly a different transit market, meaning it adds some riders and loses others. That “loses” part is the issue: it’s a deviation from the voter-approved commitment. it disses voters/riders in the 145th neighborhood. Technically the only things ST has to do is write a statement justifying the deviation. But ST is extremely reluctant to do that, in both this and other cases.
But one point in your favor: the Alternatives Analysis for Lynnwood Link included alternatives as far apart as Aurora and Lake City Way, as long as they got to must-serve Lynnwood (a designated urban growth center). And East Link considered alternatives from Bellevue Way to 405, with or without a South Bellevue and East Main Station. All of these required justifications for substituting different transit markets (i.e., different station neighborhoods) from the ballot measure, but the point is that ST considered them all consistent with the ST2 plan. If these are consistent, then surely an adjustment in the number of Ballard stations is consistent.
It sounds like ST was just lazy and threw all stations it didn’t want to pursue into the same item, even though some of them may have been more inconsistent than others. I can see ST not making provision for the 45th like: that’s what it has been doing all along with Northgate Link. But an extra Ballard station or consolidating the SLU/Uptown stations is just a teensy little issue.
Adding a Belltown Station (as opposed to moving Denny Station south) gets into the high cost of underground stations, so that may be the issue there. You should hear the mayor of Everett speak about Ballard. “Ballard shouldn’t even get Link at all until Everett and Tacoma are finished, as was promised to voters in 1996.” So they would be apoplectic about adding expensive features to Ballard. That’s also the reason for throwing out the Queen Anne tunnel: that would be a mega expense, and it would require increasing the ST3 ceiling, and that would have to have been done before the ballot measure. If North King went up, then the other subareas would have to go up too. Everett College would like that, but those who think “$54 billion” was rather high would feel even stronger about $60 billion or $64 billion.
There are two different issues with deleting stations in West Seattle. Consolidating Avalon and Delridge hinges on whether it adequately serves the transit markets in the ballot measure; i.e., Delridge/16th and 35th. There’s debate about whether it does or not, and ST will have to articulate a concrete opinion in the EIS if these alternatives make it tat far. Truncating Link at Avalon is slightly different, because it’s a cost-saving measure, so it’s like truncating Federal Way Link at 200th and East Link at Overlake during the recession. So far ST has only done that when forced to by declining revenue. The West Seattle case could be different if ST finds that a tunnel is essential and it can’t afford both a tunnel and the California Ave extension, within the ST3 budget, and with no early commitment by a third-party funder. So that scenario is less unlikely than others. But it’s still unlikely, because the Junction area is the largest urban village in West Seattle and a main reason for the line. West Seattle really wouldn’t be getting Link if it didn’t have that urban village. In any case, none of ST’s alternatives chop the Junction, it’s only unofficial suggestions.
As for adding stations in West Seattle, um, that would refer Spokane Street, 1st Avenue, or east of Delridge? Did ST say anything about those? I don’t see them in the summary either way. Were they implicitly included in one or another of the alternatives? East Delridge may not have reached ST’s radar, and I don’t recall the argument for it. South SODO is rather obvious, and I wonder if ST is half-thinking about it anyway, and it just hasn’t reached a threshold, but may appear in a future phase.
So could somebody whom ST knows well ask ST to list the station additions/deletions it rejected and the reason for each? I suspect each one was rejected for a different reason in the context of its segment, and that ST may feel more strongly about some than others. In that case, it may be possible to persuade ST about ones it feels less strongly about, the way it opposed 130th for years and then finally gave in.
I guess that Mayor of Everett doesn’t understand Sub-Area Equity.
Mayor, the reason it’s taking so long for Link to get to Everett is because you’re poor up there in Snohomish County. You’re so poor, in fact, that they had to make up the toweringly pre-mature Issaquah-(South) Kirkland line in order for the East King Sub-Area to have a large enough project scope in order to spend the money it has to spend to make it possible for you folks in SnoCoto spend what you want to spend.
Grant, the East King Sub-Area is not the North King Sub-Area, which is who will be paying for the construction of the Ballard-SLU-IDS and IDS-West Seattle lines which essentially replace the scuttled monorail.
>> Two blocks is simply adjusting the station’s construction environment, like whether Capitol Hill is under Broadway or east of it or is closer to John or Pine; Anyone who can walk to 145th can walk to 147th, so it’s still within the definition of “145th Station”.
Yeah, but 145th station wasn’t built so that people could walk to it. Very few will. It was built as an intercept for buses, and in that regard, those two blocks are very important. If I live in Bitter Lake, close to 145th, I can look at the original proposal and get excited. Of course it makes sense to run a bus along 145th, that keeps going towards Kenmore. “Great”, I think, “not only can I get to Link really easily, but I can visit my friend in Bothell”. Moving the stop a couple blocks, and putting in a stupid transit station changes that. Buses won’t just keep going on 145h, but be forced to make a time consuming detour. Even if they do run a bus from Bitter Lake to Bothell, it will spend at least five minutes looping around. to connect to Link.
That is a major change that matters a lot to a lot of people. The same would be true if they adopted some of these changes. Move the station well away from Delridge and riders are screwed. Instead of a bus continuing on (to the freeway or Alki) it has to make the same sort of detour. It takes longer to get to Link, and a lot longer to get somewhere else. Likewise with the idea of moving the Avalon station to Delridge or eliminating it. Now a bus on 35th can’t just go by the station (on its way north) but is forced to make a detour. You’ve gone from somewhat of a grid, to a mess similar to what will likely exist at Northgate in perpetuity.
But unlike Northgate, it isn’t what people voted for.
Just another money grab. Going through downtown Ballard? Really? Where do you people live? Try spending a few days here at different hours.
You got more problems to fix with all the tax money you receive than worry about this. We have 4th highest taxes in the nation with no spending accountability or oversite.
People need mobility too. They also need a way to get around that doesn’t require owning an expensive car or taking expensive Ubers. Other industrialized countries figured this out long ago, while the US is still wavering. Low taxes doesn’t do you any good if you can’t get around or have to maintain and park a car you don’t want or pay taxi fares that are four times higher than transit.
>> We have 4th highest taxes in the nation with no spending accountability or oversite.
What? We aren’t even top ten. We have high sales tax, certainly. But our overall tax rate (including income, sales, property) is not that high (pretty much in the middle).
Now, if you are saying we should enact an income and capital gains tax while lowering our sales tax, I’m all for it. So are many of the folks here.
Probably a reference to this. Seattle has fourth highest taxes of any city for households with $25k income. Rather different however at higher income levels.
@Dan — Yeah, exactly. Not news at all. We have *the* most regressive tax system in the country, so it should be no surprise that are taxes are high for those under 25K.
But the problem is the type of taxes, not the amount of revenue raised.
Could remove the “i1 dot wp dot com” from in front of the link. It’s stopping it from loading.
I understand that the 14th Ave alignment is by far the worst location for how things are right now, but I’m curious to hear people’s opinions on the possibility of rezoning and building that area up.
14th Ave alignment would be the easiest cheapest construction (always good for getting things on time or early) and in my opinion, the entire area between Ballard and Fremont is dramatically under zoned (lots of industrial and single family).
Since the eta on this line is 2035, maybe it makes sense not to just build for the need now, but to do some massive TOD in a less built up area.
Maybe this is a long shot and way too risky (industry and single family home owners can be very anti density after all) but does anyone here think going for a transformative neighborhood change might be worth it?I’m thinking lots of 6-10 story apartment buildings between 15th Ave NW and 3rd Ave NW. Urbana apartments at 15th and market is 5 stories with retail. Going east might be worth it if we can get higher buildings.
Old Ballard is the center of activity now but I think due to a combination of historic landmark designations and new profitable buildings, development will likely slow down there before this line opens. Staying east certainly doesn’t preclude a future UW line either.
I’ll admit it’s complicated, there would need to be some coordination between sound transit and the city, over multiple administrations. But might it be worth it for transit and urbanist activists to try and make some inroads in that area?
Maybe I am being to optimistic about the possibility of transforming a neighborhood for dramatically higher density over the next 18 years, but if there is a chance it could happen the benefits would be immense. I just don’t want to dismiss it so quickly when it seems like there is untapped potentiometer there.
Please tell me if I’m wrong, but now seems like a great time to ask these questions before any plans are set in stone.
From a development standpoint, 14th wouldn’t be the end of the world. In general, the apartments stop after 12th. If HALA goes through, that will change, and some of the areas to the east will upzone. The only problem is the industrial zone to the south. That won’t likely change. But other than that, there are no major obstacles (e. g. greenways, water, railroad tracks or freeways like you see with many of the other stops).
I have a couple bigger problems with 14th. First is that it becomes very difficult to extend the line to the north. Extending Link north to 65th and 85th is way more likely than extending Link south from the West Seattle Junction. But only if it is cheap. Elevated rail on 15th should be fairly cheap to extend. Dig a tunnel, and you can forget about a train ever serving Crown Hill. Likewise, a train on 14th would end at 65th, which is pretty much pointless. Serving the area is fine, but you really need to get up to 85th to make it worthwhile, and create a useful transit network.
Then you have the issue of bus integration. For the foreseeable future, a bus will have to come down 15th and drop people off at the station. Doing so would be a real pain if the station is on 14th. Either riders will be asked to walk a couple minutes (it is a very long block — the street numbers aren’t regular) or the bus has to make a turn, which is really a mess (especially since you want crossing buses there).
Add it all up and it just doesn’t look like a good place for a stop.
For once, please ST build it to where the people are, not to where they might, maybe, someday, hope to be.
If the station is to the east then everyone to the west will have an irretrievably awful transfer experience. What could have been a short walk to the station at 20th or 17th, becomes a bus ride and a train transfer, or a very very long walk. Or all those people who live on 24th have to stay on the bus that much longer until it crosses 15th.
In my opinion any station to the east isn’t worth the money saved.
We have gone too far into hoping the future will save us and ignoring the neighborhood centers and pedestrian concentrations we already have and that have proven successful for decades. But there is a counterargument and it’s worth mentioning. Newly-developed areas like 15th NW or Othello and expected-to-be-redeveloped areas like Roosevelt in the U-District have a good potential of being higher density than the old neighborhoods (Old Ballard, Columbia City) because they have so many NIMBYs that it’s hard to get much upzoning. That translates to more units and more people who can walk to Link.
The counter-counter argument is that while developers have proven they can build dense breadboxes, they haven’t proven they can create a cozy pedestrian neighborhood like Old Ballard, University Way, Broadway, Pike-Pine, or Summit. They end up building things too large-scaled and that alienates pedestrians, to the point that many Microsofties live in Seattle bcause they can’t find any neighborhoods like that in the Eastside. I wish the cities would focus on that problem and relearn how to build neighborhood centers that pedestrians spontaneously congregate in and are always walking in. Then we could have both: density and pedestrian-inviting areas in one.
There is one bright spot: preserving old building facades and ground-floor footprints while building a larger building behind it.There are several of these now on Pike/Pine, and they’re a breath of fresh air in a depressing construction landscape. Look developers, you can build these buildings! Congratulations! If you can build these, then you can build new buildings using prewar design principles. That’s the way to create spaces where it’s not just possible to walk, but that people spontaneously walk and congregate and want to be in. So just do it!
For me a few things are a must regardless of which path is chosen.
1) Ballard station must be situated (and prework done to avoid expensive add-ons corrections later) for future expansion north and east. Most likely north following 15th street. The eastward connection makes sense too for connecting the neighborhoods and not forcing people all the way downtown just to turn around and go back north. Also builds in a redundancy in the system if one north/south line goes down they can easily transfer over to the other.
2) No drawbridge. This is just a maintenance nightmare waiting to happen. Whatever we build will be here for a hundred years at least. Do we really want an entire line to get knocked out for hours or even a whole day because the bridge is stuck open in 2087?
1) tunnel, tunnel, tunnel. Yes it’s more expensive, though considering how things go I don’t doubt that the cost of any bridge will explode way past its current sticker price. Especially if they try to “beautify” the bridge to make the eyesore it will be go down better.
2) West BNSF (aka the dravus street stop). Magnolia Hill has garbage bus service. Three lines, two of which are clones of each other that just serve the top and bottom of the hill respectively but both follow the same path to downtown only with stop at every damn stop on the way there. The third lightly touches the bottom of the hill and then heads out to Fremont. It’s a joke and unless you work downtown completely useless. Weekend service is of course even worse. A dravus stop will obviously replace these two duplicate lines and if an east from Ballard is ever built the third line as well. Instead the bus will just do a loop or figure eight on Magnolia only, dropping everyone off at the station. This would be a major improvement.
If the Dravus street option is not built now Magnolia will be as badly cut off from the rest of the city as it is today. With heavy reliance on cars to get around. I sincerely doubt they’d ever build a spur line even a hundred years from now just to service Magnolia. It’s now or never.
1) The Magnolia bridge is going to come down and hopefully replacement work will be done, but no new bridge. The Interbay portion of the line should absolutely be coordinated with this work in mind. No reason the lines alignment should be dictated by a bridge that won’t be there in the future. If the replacement option chosen is the one I think they’ll go with it will line up perfectly with the Dravus street station. Potentially providing a relatively empty spot along the street to build a station with fresh streets that can be designed with a station and bus route in mind. Instead of bolted onto an existing street.
2) Interbay station? There’s nothing in Interbay and what is there can continue to be served by the bus lines on 15th. No reason to waste money on a station there.
3) Encourage more up-zoning in the Ballard area? Frankly I don’t see that we have much of a choice as a city. The Ballard/Fremont area along the cut zone is relatively flat (for Seattle) and more or less centrally located. I think we have to upzone it, hopefully more than just the 4-6 story buildings we see along 15th right now. Really pack ’em in there. Word of warning though about rezoning the light industrial zones. The city does have a big problem with running its low skill/manual jobs to the south and out of the city entirely. We can’t all work at Amazon.
I made a map of areas within a five minute walk of the two proposed Dravus Stations. It isn’t perfect, but you should be able to get the idea. Rather than include areas that have no one, I purposely cut those out. So it isn’t the usual diamond shape, but has been modified to show the reality of what a station there would include: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1_IZbLaozT7k1ws1MoCFTXb67DjXfLDmS&usp=sharing
The map in blue shows the areas within a five minute walk of a station at 15th and Dravus. You can see how it resembles a diamond, with a little bit cut out on the west side (because of the park). Part of that is the railroad tracks, the other part is the park.
The map in red shows the areas within a five minute walk of a station at 20th and Dravus. You can barely tell it should be a diamond. On the west side, it is close, but a little corner is taken away because of the tracks directly north of the station. To the right there is a weird little secondary diamond, with much of the ridership eliminated by the railroad yard.
It should be clear that a stop on 15th is better. Almost half of the potential walk share of the stop on 20th is gone, eaten away by the railroad tracks. It is worse if you go to a 3 minute map, as half of your potential riders are gone. That is the problem with situating a station so close to an area like that (whether it be a greenfield, freeway, or in this case, railroad yard).
As the distance grows, the difference shrinks (as the railroad yard and park eat into ridership). But at no point is the stop at 20th better. From a walking standpoint, 15th is the better stop.
You’ll want to adjust your walk map. 15th represents the same impassable barrier as the railroad tracks. The only way to cross is the Dravus St overpass. There is no crosswalk north of it and the there is no crosswalk south of it until you reach Armour St.
2nd no one is going to walk to 11th street from 15th street. Check the elevation climb on the hill.
From a bus standpoint, I would say that Dravus and 15th is about the same as 20th and Dravus. It is likely that you will have buses that go basically like this: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1EDI0cT31ZpXXYpZuQCUUlWb8xQU&usp=sharing
So that means you have buses serving Nickerson as well as west Magnolia. Those on West Magnolia benefit from a stop on 20th, while those on Nickerson benefit from a stop on 15th. It is also likely that you will have another bus or two along 15th. There are areas where a train station can’t really be justified, but a bus stop certainly can. As I mentioned above, I could also see running a bus on Gilman like so: https://goo.gl/maps/n6RVtx2u4nL2 (it would likely continue somewhere). That bus would pick up the apartments on Gilman, and connect to upper Queen Anne quite well. That could easily tip the scales towards 15th.
It sure would be nice if ST were to research the movable bridge situation. I get the objections to future maintenance issues (although I think there are overblown). But I really doubt a boat will delay a train very often, if ever. To do so, a boat has to be higher than the new bridge (which is significantly higher than the current span) and unable to pass through the channel in time. The opening will never occur at rush hour, so you can estimate the headways and the resulting gaps. Add in the time it takes to blow the horn, open it and close it, and then calculate how much time it would take for a boat to cross. My guess is most boats that size would have no problem getting through. I doubt very seriously most people would even notice a delay. If they did, they would likely have a hard time telling what caused it. I’ve noticed the train stopped for what seems like no good reason all the time — this would be the same. You are at Dravus or Market a little longer than usual, and just when you think about it, you look up and notice the bridge is just about down. That hardly seems like worrying about.
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