11 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: The Pulse”

  1. I made the mistake of riding the 8 yesterday between Capital Hill and SLU. Even though it was right there, and I didn’t have wait, I think the trip might have still been slower than walking, due to all the Pride traffic and excessive dwell times at every single bus stop.

    One thing that would have helped tremendously, though, would have been bus lanes on John between 12th and Broadway (westbound) and between Belmont and Broadway (eastbound). The space exists, if SDOT is willing to give up a dozen or so on-street parking spaces on each side of Broadway. Even if each #8 trip contains only a dozen passengers, the parking spaces would have to turn every every 15 minutes in order for more people to benefit from the parking than from the bus lanes. The actual limit is 3-hours, or unlimited duration with RPZ permit, so the actual parking turnover is far less than this.

    And, the impact is even greater when one considers that it’s not even just the #8. The #10, which also runs every 15 minutes, could use the John St. bus lane too.

    1. That is an excellent idea. That is the sort of thing that Seattle should do more of. It is a relatively small and cheap change that would save a substantial amount of time for an important transit corridor.

  2. asdf2, based on my experience with the “8”, elements like Pride – and for that matter “Realization You’re Still In Seattle, or “Festival of Jammed Traffic” parades- accelerate your ride ‘way over regular. Best thing would’ve been if somebody’s ferret had panicked and jumped off their shoulder into the farebox…hey, is KC Metro’s dog catcher running for office this year or did last one get rabies from a ferret or its owner who resented paying its face and making it sit on the floor where it tore an ear off somebody’s rottweiler?

    First experiment should be to bring back free-lance car thieves with duck-tail haircuts and collars turned up. Though the trade started to die when there stopped being hubcaps. And “hoods” (James Dean, turned up collar, not pork sausage) got an “-ies” on the end and a Google logo. Tow trucks only slow things down.

    But real difficulty is that if you widen Denny one lane each side across the I-5 viaduct, every building up to 23rd will need a horizontal garage-lane through their storage space for the rest of the trip.

    What would really work: extend measure I think is there now for crossing I-5. All civilian traffic held at stop light at both ends of the whole route, until train of buses, longer the better, makes the whole lane-reserved, signal pre-empted trip.

    Same for goes-without-saying-and-years-overdue restored 43.


  3. FYI STB commentariat: Island Transit did NOT approve a fare.

    I would hope we all remember this like in…. December and ask our state legislators to attach to any grant to Island Transit a requirement to charge a fare.

    Otherwise, we’re going to see Skagit and Seattle taxdollars go to subsidize one of the only two “fare free” systems left in this state. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that’s fair when King County Metro & Sound Transit certainly cannot go fare-free.

    Over to you guys….

    1. Am I right that public transit fares only account for part of the operating revenue? So isn’t there a chance that for Island Transit, fare collection and accounting cost more than the money they bring in?

      With service being paid for by the positive economic activity that the buses make possible? Both systems equally in healthy balance. Just different equally heavy weights on both scales.


    2. It also costs money to administer a fare. I can believe the argument that in some cases fares bring in so little that it’s not worth collecting them, and Island Transit may be such a case. It doesn’t matter to me whether Island Transit charges fares or not. My main concern is that the rural areas have so little transit that people feel they they have to drive, as opposed to Europe where even villages have transit and are more walkable, or China where transit and footpaths go to everywhere in the country. The grant money is probably so little it’s not worth worrying about. If the money didn’t go to free fares, then either it could go into an additional Island Transit route, or to another county. I don’t know enough about Island County to say whether it would benefit from another route. And it might not even be enough for a complete route. In any case, the entire Island Transit network is around 1% of Metro’s, so I don’t think we need to worry that it’s a lot of money or transit service going up in smoke. Metro used to have one of those grants too, to extend the 268 to Maple Valley weekends. In other words, it’s not very much. Also, I’ve heard Island Transit runs a tight schedule to meet the ferries. Charging fares may slow down boarding enough to interfere with that.

      1. Grants cover about 7% of the $13,872,055 2018 Island Transit budget. Fares would have had a net gain of $200K.

        To me, it’s about the fairness of asking Seattle and Skagit to chip in when both Seattle and Skagit (and yes, Mukilteo too) have pressing unmet needs. I doubt seriously “fare free” is anything but a dream at this point for either King County Metro or Skagit Transit.

  4. Does KC Metro have a more user-friendly way to present service changes than the PDFs? It’s basically unusable without also looking at a map, which I don’t have time to be doing if I’m standing on the street looking at my phone.

  5. One thing systems like “Pulse” all seem to have in common is that they are located in places where, to put it mildly, it only takes five years to get the parking removed instead of twenty.

    Also, the Union Army must have done a hell of a job on Richmond, because there’s hardly any buildings left at all, and it looks like the car hasn’t been invented, and also an epidemic of horse-flu.

    But term “Pulse” has a Seattle reference. When DSTT signalling and communications equipment was designed, the “Platoon” idea was to send buses through in lines of between four and six.

    Thinking being that, as with blood circulation, most efficient way to send bloodcells, or buses, through a confined space in pulses. Unfortunately, this only seems to work in creatures with at least a node that will eventually turn into a brain.

    Sad coincidence that this rhymes with “drain”. Because after about two weeks, Metro decided that it was ok for buses to dribble (not like basketball!) and trickle.

    Whoever was supposed to design the flush mechanism probably also designed the waterfall fountain that has served so well as a garbage bin (damn these conceptual artists!) for 28 years.

    But really explains why those custom-made giant bus-towing tractors got so little use. Maybe they were designed to pull whole platoons. So when this idea was flushed, the order also got canceled for those giant red rubber half-balloons with big wood pistons.

    And purchasing kept thinking every “Rooter” was supposed to go to Stadium, not IDS and CPS. Or maybe it was every fare-box argument trying to get the machine out of Westlake when everybody thought it was a 41. Well, good thing they could put a couple of them in pink plastic wrap and hang them over the platform at Capitol Hill.


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