19 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Construction of Hong Kong’s MTR”

  1. When might we see Sound Transit complete the lake-Washington-north-crossing study? In particular as ST3 is built out, how to tie in lake crossing to the existing system will be key to the system’s success.

    For example: on the face of it Seattle Subway has proposed a very intriguing line through Madison Park and on to 520. I doubt ST will build a possible connection into the new tunnel to a line such as this without having a study backing up the decision to do so.

    But even if Madison Park is not where a line across the lake ends up going, it will eventually go somewhere, and it seems to me that the sooner ST gets this study done, so that they can build in any needed connections into ST 3, the better.

    1. The 45th line has been in ST3’s long-term plan for years and it studied it in ST2, but ST still hasn’t designed a transfer interface or track crossing/branching at U-District station or Ballard station. So that’s the last thing on their mind.

      st is booked up with construction until 2040, so it will probably be on the 2030s when it studies the cross-lake corridor.

  2. jas, I understand that Lake Washington is extremely deep. So in addition to boring conditions, we need to see how steep the gradients would need to be between Madison Park and anyplace on SR 520. Downtown Kirkland might be our best east portal.

    And maybe through-route the line with a bridge-and-surface track to Sand Point. Continuing through the U-District headed for Ballard. In the time-frame we’re talking about, advances in boring equipment might let us do if in at least some of our lifetimes.

    Not sarcasm. Worthwhile to start investigating now. Presuming something else, and most important. Inter-neighborhood fights between places like Ballard and West Seattle do nothing but slow down the work, long-term and short. The whole strength or what we’re building is that it’s unified region-wide. As we now, and increasingly, will live.

    From fare policy to everything else, every “separation” might as well be a tectonic fault.

    Mark Dublin

    1. I am not proposing to tunnel under lake Washington.

      Not even Seattle subway proposes to do that in their latest ‘visiov’. Heh

      All I’m asking is how soon until ST finishes their north lake Washington study?

      And, if it isn’t going to be for awhile I think they should be pressured into speeding it up so that they can incorporate into ST3 any recommendations that come out of it – as appropriate.

      1. I could probably find some people with a lot more engineering knowledge and experience than mine who’ve been thinking about individual and comprehensive possibilities for Lake Washington for a very long time.

        For instance: https://seattletransitblog.wpcomstaging.com/2017/03/07/bogue-plan/

        But even bet that some forces have been demanding this plan verbatim ever since 1909. And that an equal number are ready to blame every transit funding setback since on the lost compound interest wasted by the 1909 study.

        So don’t advise putting any ideas on this subject on social media. True, if you’re right, you’ll get credit, though honestly, has anybody besides Bruce ever noticed ….well, “Bogue” meant something else in those days…whoever thought of this in 1909?

        But considering what’s been happening to Seattle’s economy lately, whatever your’re advocating will definitely be blamed on you.


  3. The Move Seattle levy is over budget, old news. According to the Seattle someTimes:

    levy originally estimated that bike lanes would cost about $860,000 to build, per mile.
    – Seventh Avenue bike lane has cost about $3.8M (~$13 million/mile)
    – Second Avenue protected bike lane cost $12 million a mile

    Meanwhile, SDOT is saying “eight sub-programs that may[???] need potential adjustments are primarily due to potential federal funding uncertainty”. Somehow it’s all tied in to Russian collusion, right?

    1. Ya, bike paths that were supposed to cost $960k per mile are actually costing 12 times as much. Talk about your overruns.

      Where’s the outrage?

      1. I think a lot of people have given up on Seattle government when it comes to fiscal responsibility.

    2. Has anyone seen any information about _why_ the bike lanes are costing so much more than projected? I haven’t, but would be very interested to know.

      Also, it wouldn’t surprise me that a bike path through Downtown might cost significantly more than paths in other locations. If Downtown is in fact an outlier, it would be interesting to see how they average out as a group.

      1. it appears to include a lot more than bike lanes – like new sewers, curbs, etc.


        i don’t know why, but i assume this is something that needs to be done, and there’s no point tearing up the bike lanes again to do it. unfortunately, the levy gives voters the illusion of fine-grained control over expenditures vs a bucket of money to be used as needed.

    3. Maybe Vladimir Putin will give his favorite hotel-owner some presents to show some mistaken voters who can REALLY deliver for transit.



      And also a appropriate opening ceremony:


      Promised not to show the 50 mile long trolleybus route anymore, except to mention that it’s now in the Russian subarea. Studies? Probably 10th floor archives room, Downtown Seattle Public Libraries.

      But not likely whatever Russian is for “Moscow Transit Blog” carries any complaints that the art budget should have been spent on trolleybuses.


  4. I’ve been experimenting lately using bikeshare to connect Yarrow Point freeway station to places like downtown Bellevue and Kirkland, which are too far to walk, yet relatively straightforward to ride, especially with an electric assist to help with the hill climbing.

    For all the isolation the freeway station has, there is actually a fair amount of stuff within biking distance, despite having almost nothing within walking distance. Prior to the bikeshare era, this connection required carrying your bike on the bus, which means lifting the bike up onto the rack, and dealing with limited bus rack capacity, which makes such trips nearly impossible when traveling not alone. Plus, depending on where you’re coming from, you might have to lug the bike up and down stairs at Montlake Freeway Station. If a bunch of bikeshare bikes could be staged on the Yarrow Point lid, this process would become much simpler and much more reliable. Besides last-mile commuting, people would also take longer (and more profitable) trips, riding them all the way over the 520 bridge, into Seattle). (Presumably, these would be electric assist to comply with city of Bellevue rules and to make it easier to get up and over the hill). Of course, since Yarrow Point Freeway station is technically not part of the city of Bellevue, there could be jurisdictional issues to work out, but it ought to be solvable – this is just the freeway station, not the neighborhoods we’re talking about, and it’s not like that huge open expanse on top of the lid is being used by anything else.

    1. Biking is the right scale to deal with the non-walkable parts of west Bellevue, the Points communities, and Kirkland, so this makes sense. It could also be a silver lining for the overinvested Yarrow Point Station. And if you squint hard enough, it could bridge the gap between 520 and the South Kirkland P&R.

      Does Northup Way/Points Drive go through now? There was a through road and then Yarrow Point put up a concrete barrier to prevent commuters from going through it, and then I think they severed the road but I’m not sure if they left a bike trail opening.

      1. You’ve always been able to get through on a bike. I haven’t done it yet but I believe the bike connections have improved with the completion of the east side 520 rebuild. It’s an interesting idea (rent-a-bike) but I’m sure the Points Communities and Medina will pitch a fit.

      2. @Bernie, yes, they’ve dramatically improved with the separated 520 trail running straight through from 108th to the bridge.

        (AFAIK, Points Drive is still passable for bikes though not cars, but I’ve never ridden it since the trail opened.)

      3. Just watch out for the Medina and Clyde Hill police standing on the bike trail handing out a ticket to every cyclist who isn’t wearing a helmet!

        -Medina resident

  5. For transit’s own good, I’ve never hesitated to criticize its officials to their faces, during a lot of public comment sessions, over things about which I’ve had direct knowledge, and about which I knew enough to suggest an alternative.

    The 28 years’ failure to use a fortune’s worth of signalling equipment that could’ve saved fortunes more in lost DSTT operating time. The completely inadequate training. The idea of sending passengers holding pre-paid passes to court for minor mistakes with the registering system. All fixable with funds, personnel and equipment on hand.

    Including the hundred passengers and transit advocates who could’ve delivered the necessary persuasion. If they’d bothered to start showing up at meetings with me. Or even sent written or e-mailed comments. On easily fixable matters like these, including the miles-out-of-line fare punishment- most people just haven’t got the time to bother.

    But given the massive population influx these last five years, after these transit plans were formulated, it’s neither fair nor right to blame anybody official for cost overruns right now. Which the future can easily erase.

    Like with the minor aggravations I’ve listed, we advocates can inform ourselves to organize the politics for measures we can take on operating levels where a few temporary adjustments can keep a lot of passengers moving with budget we have.

    Temporary reserved bus and bike lanes- paint stripes and on-scene enforcement at rush hours. Clearing Third Avenue of all car traffic? Shouldn’t need a cent. Just an order from the Mayor. Using signals we already have. Taking some police off duty as private parking lot attendants, and put them to hand-signaling intersections as needed.

    And many more things all over city, county, and whole ST area. Simple practical ideas- with an organization of two or three hundred politically active and organized people good at on-the-spot invention should assure that when the budget comes back- however long it takes- system will re-start a long way ahead of where it is now.

    As for Seattle’s reputation, average LINK ride back to the Airport, vast majority for other cities count us as an example they wish their own systems even come close to following. But a reputation for people actively involved in getting their system through an emergency- up to us but valuably in reach.


    1. I wonder how long transit fans will continue supporting ST and SDOT as the number of inexplicable amateur mistakes, refusal to do what works in other cities, and underdelivery continue to grow. Pretty much every specially-funded capital project since Transit Now in the 1990s (i.e., RapidRide) has delivered less than originally described, and at some point people will get tired of voting for things that get watered down. In some cases like RapidRide it was because of tax-cutting intiiatives so that’s not Metro’s fault, but this Transit Now is more a case underestimating the costs and not explaining how dependent they were on grants. Will we ever get transit-priority lanes and a citywide bike network? I’m still optimistic because that’s my personality and there are still possibilities, and because there’s no other choice: it’s either this or go back to the way things were in the 90s or move to another city.

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