Two pieces of good news for bus commuters on SR-520: one next month and another in 2023.
Next month, WSDOT will install a temporary bus-only queue jump in the Montlake off-ramp. This comes a few months after several advocates met with the agency to discuss potential improvements. The queue jump will take advantage of excess shoulder space on the exit ramp, leaving the two car lanes intact. Unfortunately, the right-of-way narrows at Montlake Way, so buses will need to merge right before the intersection. Still, letting buses to the front of the line will probably save a couple of light cycles.
The re-striping will happen the weekend of Oct. 5-7, weather permitting, and the new bus lane will open Monday, Oct. 8. Kudos to WSDOT for listening to transit riders and moving quickly. The lane will be open for at least six months until Montlake lid construction gets underway. David Goldberg, WSDOT’s Ombudsman who has been liaising with transit advocates on this project, told me via email that how long the lane is ultimately in operation will depend on the contractor’s schedule, which should be finalized “in the next few weeks.”
The project will improve reliability for all buses that use the Montlake off-ramp, including the 167, 255, 271, 277, 540, 541, 542, and 556. When completed in 2024, the Montlake lid will provide permanent dedicated access for these routes, as well as HOVs, going to and from 520.
With the 520 freeway stop disappearing next year and more buses diverted to Husky Stadium as part of One Center City efforts, giving priority through Montlake — at least for a little while — is very welcome.
Next, WSDOT announced this week that the agency is pushing up the opening date of the transit connection from 520 to I-5, providing a direct bus path to South Lake Union.
Previously slated for the Portage Bay phase of the project (which wraps up in 2029), the WSDOT says the ramp will now be open to Metro and Sound Transit buses by 2023. HOVs (and, one assumes, private employer shuttles) will have to wait for 2029. The Seattle Times notes that this configuration adds a fifth express lane to I-5, so buses won’t have to merge in and out of traffic.
Since it connects to the reversible HOV lanes, however, it will only work in one direction at a time: heading into Seattle in the morning and leaving in the afternoon.
You may recall that Metro’s since-scuttled 2015 Eastside restructure tried to connect 520 to SLU via a revised 311 that took the long way up to the U-District and back via Eastlake, because buses can’t do the merge from 520 to the Mercer exit on the I-5 mainline. The new connection to the express lanes makes it possible.
We don’t know exactly which routes will take advantage of this new path — Metro is currently re-evaluating the North Eastside network — but it’s a fair bet that the routes like the 255 (Kirkland-Seattle), 545 (Redmond-Seattle) and 311 (Woodinville-Seattle) or their descendants would be candidates (this is all happening after the One Center City “period of maximum constraint”, so we’ll have to see what downtown street capacity looks like at that time). These routes could potentially even head into downtown via the Fairview-Virginia pathway that Zach sketched out a little while back. For Eastsiders in those cities headed to South Lake Union, it will be a huge improvement.
44 Replies to “WSDOT Plans Transit Improvements on SR-520”
This is very good! When I lived in Capitol Hill, whenever I came from Bellevue I always preferred to time my departure to the half-hourly 555 route rather than the 271 because I could get off at the Montlake freeway station, which has a short section of bus-only right of way before it in traffic that generally flows relatively nicely. Sometimes that would save 20 minutes.
Though the queue jump isn’t the full length of the exit, even if it saves 75% of queuing time, that can save 10 minutes right there, on every peak trip. I wonder why they haven’t done this in the past, when it could have been in place for years. But better late than never, in any case.
This lane over to Mercer street is really neat, and I’ve never heard of that before. I guess it’ll be basically a 520 version of the D2 roadway.
Why would they not open it to carpools? Is there any reason other than congestion? If buses can move from the 520 HOV lane into the magic carpet Mercer street exit, then it seems totally arbitrary to block carpools. What could they possibly be doing that requires six years of work to make it safe for carpools?
Maybe it’s to give buses an advantage during the 520 west construction, the waterfront construction, and there may be other I-5 construction we haven’t talked about.
I think they want to get a feel for congestion & traffic flows before adding HOV traffic.
It’ll be a big improvement, but it’s less like the D-2 roadway and more like an HOV flyover ramp that gets you from left-hand lane in 520 to a right-hand lane on the Express ramp, which then immediately flows into the Mercer exit. It’s still the normal HOV-3 lane on the bridge across Portage Bay
Possibly because it’ll be going through an active construction site (portage bay lid) and they want to limit the traffic, close it nights and weekends, etc. That could be easier if it’s buses only.
Come on, Alex. When did congestion become an otherthan? Do you really think it’s better to be aboard a stuck pooling-car than a moving bus?
Glad to see this finally happening!
During rush hour, the 255 and 545 now face constant stop-and-go traffic all the way from Montlake Freeway station into downtown Seattle. Even when the bus finally leaves the freeway, there’s still more traffic to fight down Stewart St. and 9th Ave. to actually reach the tunnel entrance. And, when buses finally get kicked out of the tunnel, they get to fight even more traffic, all the way through downtown.
Yesterday afternoon, when traveling to DT from Kirkland, I actually got off the 255 at Montlake Freeway station, walked to Link, and still arrived at Westlake station before the previous 255, which left Kirkland 10 minutes earlier. And this was with walking the entire way from station to station (no running), plus waiting 5 minutes for a train that runs every 6 minutes.
Now that buses finally have a queue jump for the Montlake off-ramp, there are no more excuses to sink all those service hours into fighting I-5 and downtown traffic. Just send the 255 to Husky Stadium, re-invest the saved service hours into improved frequency and be done with it.
… and then send them downtown in five years, when they build the ramp. Or at least, send those buses in peak direction there (reverse commuters to Kirkland will have to find a different way to get there).
Anyway, I don’t think it is as simple as just sending the 255 to the UW and improving frequency. This definitely makes for a huge improvement, but when is it actually faster (or even close to as fast) to make a transfer? Only during rush hour. The rest of the time the queue jump helps, but you still have to deal with an occasional bridge opening and a lengthy transfer. It helps for the opening as well (quite a bit) but you still have to wait for the bridge to go down and typically the vehicles going straight before you can make that turn. By that time, a bus would be downtown. Even if everything goes smoothly (the bridge is down, you make all the lights, the bus drops you off right by Link) it still takes a while to walk down and catch Link, which probably won’t be running that often then (every ten minutes, typically). Again, a bus will get you downtown faster.
If this only makes sense during rush hour, then simply adding frequency (on a bus like the 255) doesn’t add much. Frequency is already pretty good then (around 6 to 8 minutes). For a commuter type bus, that is excellent.
What I would rather see is different express buses to the UW. Truncate the 252 and 257 to the UW. Also run a different bus (the 256?) which follows the 255 route, but goes to the UW. The first two would be peak only (although bidirectional). The 256 (as I’m calling it) would be frequent during peak, but infrequent outside of it. That way no one gets stranded at the UW, and the UW gets decent service. There are other buses in the mix (that I’m too lazy to find) but that would be the basic idea.
Overall I think it would be fairly popular or at the very least, simple. If you are in Kirkland headed towards downtown, then you can take a direct bus, but not during rush hour. It might not be as convenient to transfer, but it would be fairly simple, and get them to work faster. In the afternoon, if you get off work fast enough, then you take the midday express. But if that has stopped running, you transfer to the UW. Then at night your express appears again.
As tempting as it is to just truncate everything at the UW, I think the type of think I sketched out would be much more popular.
All day, if travel time downtown is anything close to a wash, then having the bus go to Husky stadium is better, because the connection to Link and the U-district buses makes the service much more useful for people who aren’t going downtown.
Today’s “stop at Montlake on the way downtown” solution has several problems. Montlake Freeway station is going away in about a year from now, so any bus stopping at Montlake on the way to downtown would have to wait for the light at the Montlake exit ramp, anyway, which means, if the bridge is up, the bus is going to have to wait for traffic to clear, anyway. By that point, you may as well not bother, and just drop people off at the train station. Today, the left turn on Pacific forces people to wait an extra couple of light cycles to make the Link transfer, but that’s a solvable problem, and plans have been proposed to allow buses to drop off right in front of the station, then turn left onto Pacific Pl. (this would require some signal modification, as, today, left turns there are forbidden).
Even today, with the freeway station open, it’s far from ideal. It’s already a minute or two of walking, just to get to the street and, even then, the only all-day bus connection that’s right there is the 48, which ends in the U-district, so to get to a bus that goes onward, you either have to walk to the Montlake Triangle, or ride the 48 one stop, which means waiting for an *additional* connection. On top of all this, the eastbound stop is reachable only by stairs (not ADA accessible), so anybody that can’t climb stairs is basically forced into either detouring all the way downtown, or making an additional connection at Yarrow Point or Evergreen Point, to a bus that doesn’t run very often outside rush hour, and doesn’t run at all on evenings or weekends (the 271 doesn’t serve Evergeen Point, so you can’t connect to it from another 520 bus headed downtown).
Peak-period-peak direction, I agree, when the bus lane to SLU opens, there should definitely be overlay buses that use it, probably bypassing the Montlake area altogether, since people headed there have other options. But, it really only makes since during peak. Partly because we don’t want to split the all-day network too thin, among a bunch of infrequent routes, and partly because the reversible nature of the express lanes makes the 520->SLU transit corridor only workable heading into Seattle in the morning and out in the evening.
>> if travel time downtown is anything close to a wash, then having the bus go to Husky stadium is better
But most of the day, it is not — that is the point. It is an extra 20 minutes to South Lake Union, which just about anyone would agree is part of downtown. I’m not saying that the Montlake stop is a substitute for service to the U-District. Quite the contrary. You just serve both places with two different buses, for the same reason that Snohomish County has buses that go to the U-District, and buses that go downtown. Yes, you could run buses more often if you ran them all to the U-District, but a lot of people would hate it, because it would take them longer to get downtown.
The only time it doesn’t make sense to run buses downtown is when truncating is anything close to wash, and that only occurs during rush hour.
@asdf2 “And this was with walking the entire way from station to station (no running),…”
Just curious. How far is that and/or how long did it take you to make that connecting walk?
Walking from the WB Montlake Fwy Stop to the platform at UW Station usually takes me 7-8 minutes. The EB Montlake Fwy Stop usually takes an extra minute or two.
Excellent news and great article. I read the article in the paper and got excited. The queue jump is also a great addition.
Some thoughts: I would assume that a bus that gets off the freeway at Mercer would be able to take advantage of the right-of-way planned for the Roosevelt RapidRide project. That is basically what Zach suggested. I also think it is possible that a bus would travel down Fairview and turn on Harrison (which would likely have transit lanes) to get over Aurora and on up to Lower Queen Anne. That would be especially nice for events at Key Arena. But even just for regular commuters, this offers folks from the East Side something that Link doesn’t (at least for a long time). Even when Link does have stops in South Lake Union and Lower Queen Anne, it seems like the bus would be significantly faster for someone coming across 520, as opposed to taking a bus to the UW, transferring to the train, then taking another train.
It seems like we still have a problem due to the lack of a Link station in Montlake. If there was a freeway bus station there (with quick access to a Link station) then a bus would simply stop, let people off and then keep going to South Lake Union (and beyond). Link would essentially be “on the way” (https://humantransit.org/2009/04/be-on-the-way.html).
But now, I don’t know how that situation will be handled. The Times article suggested things are going to be worse. Just to even stop at Montlake will require “weaving across general lanes”. Keep in mind a stop there will never be wonderful. It is still a big walk to the UW or the UW station. That makes it tough for Metro (and ST) to decide what to do. Do you slow your bus considerably, even though the stop you are serving really isn’t great? Or do you just skip it, which means you are basically duplicating service for much of your line, despite the multi-billion dollar mass transit system right under you?
My guess is that they will do a combination. Unfortunately, that will likely mean weak service. Many of the places on the northeast side are not easy to serve with one bus. For example, the Totem Lake area is close to the freeway, but can’t easily be served with a bus headed in one direction, with Totem Lake as the last stop before the freeway. It is the opposite of a place like Northgate. The 41 became very successful because it provided an express of sorts for Lake City residents — Northgate was basically on the way. There are faster ways for someone in Lake City to get to downtown (especially now), but it really wasn’t much of a detour, and certainly makes sense for someone in Pinehurst or greater Northgate. Totem Lake really isn’t on the way for anyone, unless you are talking about the I-405 stop. The result is a bus route like the 255 — it detours all over the place to serve the Totem Lake/Kingsgate area, and all those riders have to slog through Kirkland, despite living very close to the freeway.
In short, there aren’t many places that are truly on the way. Not the Link station in the UW area, not the Montlake station, and not much of the northeast side where these buses would come from. This is a big problem that will make it very difficult to build a great transit system in that area, despite the huge investment we are making in it. The only reasonable option I see is sending a bunch of buses to the UW, sending a bunch of buses to South Lake Union and having a bunch of people transfer at freeway stations on 520.
My preference: peak only routes skip Montlake, take bus only lane to SLU, then something other than downtown (maybe first hill). All day buses go to husky stadium and don’t go to SLU.
Remember, the express lanes are reversible, which makes the beautiful bus ramp essentially unusable for anything other than peak period peak direction service.
The big loss is the reverse commute (people who live in South Lake Union and work in Kirkland are no better off). But that doesn’t mean that the lane is only useful during peak.
The 41, for example, is a wonderful bus to take if you are headed downtown at noon. That is nowhere near peak, but the express lanes are in your favor. At that time of day, getting from various places along the route to downtown via a bus is faster than any other means (including a cab). (Or at least it was, when the express lanes were connected to the tunnel). The reverse is true well. In the afternoon, as well as well into the evening, the 41 is great for getting from downtown to the U-District. Express lanes don’t quit when rush hour ends.
Likewise, someone from Kirkland headed to South Lake Union would save twenty minutes, maybe a half hour if they were headed to South Lake Union at noon (assuming the same sort of express lane schedule). The UW option involves the possibility of a bridge opening. Even when the bridge is closed, you have a couple lights, then a long walk down to the platform (cross your fingers and hope the escalators are working). Then you have to wait for the train, which at that hour currently runs every ten minutes. Then you have to get back to South Lake Union, which either involves a long walk or waiting for another bus/streetcar. I figure a bus can get to Fairview in the time it typically takes a bus to get to the UW (assuming the bridge is down). So that means you have the time spent walking to the platform (2 minutes), waiting for the train (5 minutes), taking the train to Westlake (6 minutes), then exiting Westlake (2 minutes) and getting to South Lake Union (10 minutes). That’s 25 minutes and I’m probably being optimistic (it seems like getting to the platform takes longer). Of course the bus was only at Fairview, but in 5 minutes it will certainly have covered some ground in South Lake Union, no matter which way it went. That is a savings of around 20 minutes, and that is assuming the bridge was down. That is also the good way. Going the other direction, you have to cross the street (somehow) which adds time.
Even if the bus goes right by Westlake and you are headed there, the bus is still about 5 minutes quicker. Again, that is assuming you are lucky with the bridge and can get back and forth from the street to the platform in two minutes. The only time the transfer has a chance to catch the bus is if you are headed to the south end of downtown (e. g. Pioneer Square). If downtown looked like it did 20 years ago, then what you are suggesting would make a lot of sense. But things have changed: https://goo.gl/maps/rBozcBvbM5M2.
It seems to me like you can easily justify an express, running very fast, in the middle of the day. Yes, it costs a bit more, but either it is popular, or very few people will make the transfer. If people don’t want to ride an express bus to downtown at noon every fifteen minutes (which is what it runs now) then I don’t see why they would want to run a much slower, less consistent, more tedious combination, even if that first bus is a little more frequent.
That is why I think in the middle of the day, the default will be towards serving downtown (especially South Lake Union) directly. By all means we should have good service to the UW from somewhere on 520, but that is where people will make the transfer. That bus won’t just loop around the triangle (forcing folks to transfer to get to upper campus or the U-District) but end up at 45th (which not only means serving Campus Parkway, but also making a connection to the 44). Someone who is headed to the UW in the middle of the day may have to transfer at a freeway station to get there, but that is what happens when you aren’t headed to the most popular place (which is downtown).
By “peak”, I meant extended peak hours, at least on weekdays, into the midday period, as the express lane schedule permits – for example, 6-11 AM westbound, 1-7 PM eastbound. I think we’re in agreement on that part. On weekends, I wouldn’t bother because the SLU market is too commuter-focused.
Unfortunately, the reversible nature of the express lanes means a trip from Kirkland->SLU at 1 PM, you just have to switch to Link at UW Station and, either walk or take a bus or streetcar at Westlake. I live near the UW Station, and have gone to SLU several times taking the train to Westlake and walking. Door to door, the tunnel platform to the Whole Foods at Westlake and Denny is about a 10-12 minute walk. Once East Link opens, the train from UW Station to Westlake will be running every 5 minutes, all day long. So, the transfer becomes even easier.
Ultimately, the core all-day network needs to rely on infrastructure that is available all day, in both directions, rather than shutting down at noon one direction, restarting at 1 PM the other direction.
Ultimately, the core all-day network needs to rely on infrastructure that is available all day, in both directions, rather than shutting down at noon one direction, restarting at 1 PM the other direction.
Ultimately, people don’t care how it works. They want a system that can get them to their destination quickly, and they don’t care how.
Consider the 41. Sometimes the bus goes on the express lanes, sometimes it doesn’t. Hell, sometimes it goes in the tunnel, sometimes it doesn’t. I never look at the schedule, I just wait and see what the bus does.
Consider this as a basic route: https://goo.gl/maps/zyA65i4xEuN2. (It would go down Third instead of Second, but Google won’t let me go down Third because I’m not a bus). Here is the thing: it works just fine in reverse. That means that in the morning, the bus serves South Lake Union before serving the south end of downtown. In the afternoon, it does it in the other order. Is that confusing? Not really. From the East Side, you figure it out as the bus exits the freeway. If you walk up to the bus stop, you just see when the bus is running one way or another (at least it is running). Commuters are fine with it, and even reverse commuters are OK with it. If you live in South Lake Union and commute to Kirkland, it still works. Not as an express (like the other way) but most of the trip downtown is on bus-only lanes. You slog on I-5, but that is life. It is still much better than what exists now. Likewise in the middle of the day it is great, regardless of which direction it goes.
There would be a gap, but I don’t think it would be that long. The other express lanes reverse in 15 minutes. The only possible problem is that a bus could be heading for the I-5 express lanes, but as they get there, it is closed. But again, that isn’t the end of the world. A bus would just find a different way to get to 520. One way would be to get on the northbound general lanes and turn around in the U-District (https://goo.gl/maps/LpMj4xShrpu). That costs about ten minutes, but isn’t the end of the world. This would be a rare occurrence (happening only when the bus is dramatically late). A bus headed to the U-District would probably meet with that kind of delay several times a day. In contrast, the 41 routinely wanders through the surface streets as it slogs its way downtown when the express lanes aren’t in its favor. In both of those other cases, the harm does by inconsistent operations are much worse. At least with this bus, you know if there is a problem, when it will occur (right when they switch the express lanes).
I guess I don’t understand why you want to eliminate service any more than you have to. Why force people to make a transfer that will obviously cost them a lot of time, just because the bus isn’t running as fast as is possible? That would be like shutting down the 41 when the express lanes are not in its favor, and asking everyone to make a connection with Link. Yeah, it would probably be more consistent (you would have a good idea of when you will get there) but just about every time it would be a lot slower.
Just to be clear, I think it is essential that Metro and ST work together to provide good service to the UW. There needs to be a route (and I don’t care which one) that stops at the Evergreen Point Station consistently (every ten minutes in the middle of the day) so that folks can easily get to the U-District. Right now, nothing does that. The 542 has too many gaps in the middle of the day. The 540 and 541 are worse. Similarly, Metro’s 167 and 277 are really bad. The 271 is the only bus that comes even close, and yet, unfortunately, it is the only bus on 520 that doesn’t stop at Evergreen Point. Somehow that problem needs to be fixed, and it shouldn’t cost much (it just needs a restructure, so that some bus other than the 271 has frequent service to the UW).
But there is no need to sacrifice fast all day service to downtown to get good service to the UW. During rush hour it makes sense to run a lot of buses to the U-District, but outside of rush hour it doesn’t.
“Ultimately, the core all-day network needs to rely on infrastructure that is available all day,”
That word “ultimately” is doing a lot of work.So we shouldn’t use reversible express lanes when we can? Because it’s unlikely WSDOT will install full bidirectional HOV lanes on western 520 or central I-5; it’s a car infrastructure and we’re just getting the scaps.
I think there’s a clear role for express only, or express-oriented, routes in our transit network. Not every route needs to be all-day.
@AJ — Absolutely. There is definitely a role for express routes, whether they are all day or not. For example, I could easily see an express version of the E making sense. Run a bus that stops only at the major stops. I have no idea what those are (Metro doesn’t publish stop data) but at a minimum I would skip Linden (which only occurs south bound) as well as the “stops” which aren’t “stations” (Lynn, Galer, 72nd, 80th, 152nd, 155th, 180th, 200th). I would probably skip a few more. This makes sense as an overlay when you really don’t benefit from adding more regular E runs. Weekday morning the E runs every four minutes. The only reason to add more service then is to deal with overcrowding. A better way to deal with that would be to add a limited stop express. Not only would it be cheaper to add, but it would provide a new benefit (folks lucky enough to catch the express would love it).
The 18 in Ballard works that way. During the day, if you want to go downtown, you have to take the 40, which gets there via Fremont (which is relatively slow). But during rush hour, you can catch the 18, which manages to not only skip Fremont, but Lower Queen as well (making it faster than the D).
But there are also a lot of places that just don’t quite have enough ridership to justify all day service, but enough for an express during rush hour. The 17 in Ballard comes to mind. Even if Metro (or Seattle) finds enough money to serve that part of Ballard with all day service, I don’t think I would run the 17 that way. I would run the regular 17 to downtown during rush hour, but then a different bus just to cover 32nd and connect it to the other bus routes (the 40, 44 and D). Maybe send the bus over the bridge to Magnolia (to provide a bit more coverage there, and a better connection between Ballard and Magnolia).
“it’s unlikely WSDOT will install full bidirectional HOV lanes on western 520 or central I-5”
True enough right now, but I do hope this ramp is built wide enough for two lanes (bus only of course, so no real shoulders required) down the road someday – i.e. future-proofing. When the political climate demands it, it would be a fairly simple matter to take the second lane just between 520 and Mercer – that would make a “pinch point” for general traffic in that stretch, but that’s still three lanes wide and the express lanes pretty much do that anyway south of Mercer. The access ramps will already be there for both eastbound and westbound transit; this would just mean they could operate in both directions all day. Because the 520 and Mercer ramps are both on the west side of the express lanes they could be physically separated so that it doesn’t matter what direction general traffic is moving.
The cost and time savings not required to build a second ramp when the service proves to be popular enough to run it both directions all day would be substantial. It’s not going to happen right now, but service to SLU from the Eastside (and Montlake) may prove popular enough that there becomes some demand for it sooner than we think.
Won’t the buses need to merge left before the Montlake intersection?
Yep. What I meant to say was that “buses will need to merge *immediately* before the intersection.” Sorry for the confusion.
Hopefully, drivers will be kind enough to actually let the buses in when they need to merge. If not, the whole thing won’t work.
Station a traffic control cop there during evening rush hour. Said cop could stop the queue in the right lane to let buses pass.
That looks like a pretty simple merge. It is no different than a lot of other merges used by buses all over the city. If traffic is flowing fast, then the bus doesn’t even use the special lane. If traffic is moving slowly, then it is easy to merge. Meanwhile, it is right before a sharp turn, so I doubt cars will be moving that fast through there (and if they are, then we have a lot more to worry about than a bus being able to merge).
I think the trickier part is using the exit. A bus has to move out of the HOV lane, then over to the exit lane. That will cost a lot more time than a few aggressive drivers not letting a bus into the lane at Montlake.
Answer about buses merging is that a well-trained driver can easily keep a 60′ bus from further slowing down already slow moving traffic when changing lanes.
Trick is habit of keeping your eyes moving the whole run. And thinking of the lane you want to enter as a river moving at the actual speed of traffic. And your bus as a moving boat. So you keep looking back upstream to find a space coming down past you.
And you edge your bus into the line of boats until the ones behind you agree its time to lower their own speed. Others drivers generally take account of a half mile of marker lights above them, so you’ve got room to finish sliding into the space with no hard stops. Or feelings.
It’s all observation, timing, and ability to adjust speed. Smooth is very important, not least because sudden stops anywhere up or down the line slow traffic. Law of physics notes that transitioning of moving to dead stop takes extra energy- wearing both tempers and machinery.
Same for moving from complete stop to tiniest speed at all.
“Inertia” also applies to government, but harder or impossible to control.
One more reason not to tail-gate, in addition to me getting increasingly tempted to drop a handful of ball bearings out the window. In order to cover up my patent device for dialing back the throttle of my follower so they can’t get within certain distance of my back bumper.
Without the slightest effort or discomfort of any kind. Safe transit following distance, no matter how hard they step on the accelerator. And also always in place for fastest, easiest “pull-out-and pass.
My guess is that following drivers will really start to like the feel of being able to just use their power pedal as a foot-rest and relax. Same for their insurance companies.
No problem with or for the police except trying to find the mechanism for themselves. But if I work it right, the whole thing will be so slick, I mean smooth, that nobody on the road will even notice it’s there. Good habit for rule enforcement in general.
Oh and a classic transit lane change out of the legendary North Base from years gone by. Lady driver would hold a teddy bear out the window so other drivers would take pity on it and let the bus into the lane. Can’t remember if she just hung another teddy bear to the right and mirror, which always is the more difficult merge.
Might try it first day the ramp opens on SR520. No harm in getting motorists used to it and even wanting to cuddle it which if it causes accidents, everybody including the police and the insurance company will think it’s too cute to cite.
As related by Mark when he was Transit Operator 2495.
These improvements will save riders time and reduce labor costs of drivers. Yay!
I have to still wonder if this is just part of a solution. While improving existing route operations is great, are there new services that could be introduced?
A specific example: With the peak direction ramp near SLU and the opening of the new 99 tunnel, would a “rubber-tired Sounder” bus service be viable for the northern part of the Eastside that also stops in SLU? It could leave from ID Station, use the 99 tunnel, cut through SLU to use the new ramp (bus lane still needed), and connect to 520. It could have two or three branches on the Eastside. As a commuter train kind of service, it could overlay on top of all of the other great routes for only the peak direction. It could serve the outer areas where Link won’t be going.
Admittedly, East Link or 522 BRT with Lynnwood Link could make a service not really time-competitive when they open.
Thoughts? Is there an Eastside service gap that a fast, commute-only overlay would help?
Link, as it is, does an excellent job at getting from UW Station to anywhere in downtown, including the International District station – for people headed to Mariners/Seahawks games, a connection to Link is the logical way to go. Once buses are removed from the tunnel, the train is only going to get faster. And, once EastLink opens, it’s frequency doubles in that segment to a train every 5 minutes, all day long, 3 minutes during rush hour.
There definitely should be buses that connect the Eastside to SLU. But, they don’t need to be same buses that go through the 99 tunnel. Buses from West Seattle, or, perhaps, the 150, might be a better fit.
Until EastLINK opens, everything transit-oriented will be part trial, part error, and 100 % subject to change. Only downside Customer Services calls will blow “The Cloud” into a 300 mile an hour killer hurricane as every server between here and Neptune blows out. Call “Lily Tomlin”. Everybody under fifty, that’s google. com.
Good practice for the rest of the ST-‘s. Seriously. But since SR520 will be replacing I-90 for awhile good idea will an express bus from UW Station to Bellevue Transit Center on ten minute headways. HOV lanes will be better than LINK to the temporary ruins of I-90.
Come to think of the it, new express, could also do Issaquah and North Bend.
Frustrated that metro didn’t look at 931 for north Eastside improvements
Won’t take long to start this up, will it?
405 North 520 West flyover ramps would be a huge improvement.
Yes, absolutely. I don’t they are even planned. It is a good example of how WSDOT and Sound Transit really aren’t working well together. Sound Transit is busy building dubious projects, like a freeway bus stop at NE 85th. WSDOT is busy building even worse projects, like the 509/167 thing. Meanwhile, very cost effective plans like the one you mentioned are being ignored.
I think the problem is that ST focuses way too much on grand plans, whether they are for buses or trains. Often times, what is needed is just a series of small improvements. Those type of improvements can be expensive (just as adding the NE 85th stop is expensive) but they save a lot of people a lot of time because they can speed up a lot of buses. WSDOT makes a lot of piecemeal fixes, but they made a similar error with the 509/167 project. That is just way too much money for something that at best will be a giveaway to the trucking industry (sorry railroads) and at worst is just an excuse for sprawl.
In all cases, it is bad politics and a lack of vision. The only way to move large numbers of people from the suburbs to the city (or between suburbs) is with transit improvements. But that doesn’t mean you need super expensive projects. I can think of several improvements, and I’m sure a lot of other people can as well. For example, the HOV lanes on I-5 should be extended to Marysville. Right now, they end right as traffic is very thick (Marysville has grown considerably over the years). That is one of the big reasons it backs up so much — there is nowhere for that traffic to go. So buses in Lynnwood get hurt because the lanes narrow too early. WSDOT already had plans (but no funding) for a HOV lane connecting the HOV lanes of I-5 with the SoDo busway. That would save a huge amount of time for a bus coming from Tacoma or Renton.
It still amazes me that the 405 BRT includes a South Renton parking garage specific site but not a ramp connection to 405.
It still amazes me that future Link and Sounder stop at the point where I-5 congestion begins in North Everett.
It still amazes me that the Shoreline South/145th Station is shoved up the street to 148th with horrible station access for every mode rather than discuss a reconfiguration of the I-5 interchange (similar to the joint 85th/405 design now planned) — especially since a 145th redesign is in plan development.
I’m sure there are plenty of other recent examples of how our agency-centric transportation project development creates a sub-optimal transportation system for citizens and riders — and even seems more parochial than in past decades. I just don’t see any will to change the system. Things like:
– multimodal referendums by subarea as opposed to areawide referendums by individual agency
– inter-agency technical committees giving planning focus rather than stakeholder committees set up and managed by individual transit project sponsors
– transit operating cost and benefit analysis and reporting as a required factor in any transportation decision-making
Of course, this would require a sea change in the regional political mindset. I’d love to see some sort of region-wide, bi-partisan push to change it all but I don’t see many elected officials willing to sign on. Until something big emerges, there is little motivation to do anything different.
The weird thing is, ST is really well set up to do this. The one advantage to the current makeup of the board is that they should be able to work well with the various agencies. Not only is this a region-wide board (as opposed to Metro) but every member is a representative, with the exception of the head of WSDOT. That is really ideal. It should mean that ST should work well with the various cities and counties, as well as work well with the state.
But it doesn’t. I think the biggest problem is the overall goal. It seems that from the very beginning, the idea was to bring light rail to distant places in Puget Sound, instead of improving transit in the area. Those are really two very different things. Someone in Auburn, for example, really doesn’t care about Link to Pierce County (even most of the people in Kent would be better off with express bus service). But from the very beginning, there has been a focus on “the spine”. This mindset extends to other projects as well, including I-405 BRT. Rather than run a series of overlapping buses to the main destinations (Lynnwood, Bellevue, etc.) with good transfer points (at places like Totem Lake) they are focusing on a bus “spine”. For many it will be a two seat ride just to get to downtown Bellevue — hard to see how that adds much.
Meanwhile, they aren’t addressing issues that are more piecemeal. This really should be a region wide transit consortium, with the head of each bus system involved in the talks. Each one I’m sure has a wish list of improvements, some of which don’t cost anything. I’m sure the folks who run Metro, Community Transit and Pierce Transit would all love to see the HOV 2 lanes switched to HOV 3. At a minimum, the issue should be studied. I’m sure they also have a long list of improvements, such as the ones we mentioned. Many of them are expensive, but those should be done in cooperation with WSDOT. A funding mechanism that involves some state money and some local money would make a lot of sense.
But instead their primary goal is to build a massively large light rail system. I really think that is the problem. Light rail lines are very expensive. They can be done cheaply (by spending a lot of time on the surface) but ours aren’t. We are building light rail for the cost of heavy rail (which is why I just call our system a subway). Sure, the trains aren’t as big, but except for the small section on Rainier Valley, it is basically the same thing (for the same cost). With such high cost, it only makes sense to build where you can get lots of riders. That is in the core of the city. As I’ve said before, no one has shown otherwise, even in cities that are far more suburban than ours. Our city isn’t unusual in that respect, by the way. It is easy to find cities with less of an urban core (e. g. Phoenix) along with cities with robust, urban oriented transit systems with similar region wide sprawl (e. g. Boston). We aren’t a special, unique area, with special, unique needs. We simply chose a relatively special way to add a subway (a way that has failed every time it has been attempted).
Of course every subway in the world has to deal with suburban concerns. But the ones that carry huge numbers of people (as a percentage or an absolute number) do really well inside the urban core. That is the key. We aren’t doing that (and likely never will) because the focus was on serving a handful of suburban locations that will never come close to the ridership that our urban core will (even if we did shortchange the latter).
The whole subarea equity thing was a way to address that, but it has failed. We should have simply built a county wide — or even city wide — system first. Build the pieces that enable fast, convenient travel within the areas that have the most demand, then expand to the suburbs. That way, someone from the suburbs can get to their destination inside the city quickly, even if the first step is to take a bus that goes on the freeway. Over time that could creep further out, but if you are really contemplating building a system that will actually have lower ridership per mile than what you have already (which is the case with ST3) then it is time to stop. You are doing it wrong, and maybe it is time you addressed other, just as important concerns (like how people are supposed to get to the station).
But I still think a regional transit agency makes a lot of sense. Something that includes the heads of all the various transit agencies, and that includes Skagit County. They all have concerns, and should be able to voice those concerns with the state, as well the other agencies. They should work together on cross border issues (e. g. Swift and E, which overlap) but they shouldn’t be the ones building a subway for the city.
I’ll just add that not that light rail is not only more expensive but slower than express buses, DMUs and heavy rail when it comes to station spacing above 2-3 miles.and tracks that run next to freeways.
Slower and more expensive depends entirely on what is built.
Grade separated from all other traffic will be just as expensive with a bus as with light rail. Link is limited to 55 mph because that is what SoundTransit ordered, but Stadler makes low floor cars with high floor ends capable of 80 mph or so. Even 100% low floor cars good for 65 mph or so are available.
What gets expensive is building something that is inapppropriate for the need or desired goal.
>> Grade separated from all other traffic will be just as expensive with a bus as with light rail.
Not always. If you have shoulder space on the freeway, it can be really cheap to add a busway. It really depends on the area. If you have a median with dirt in it, adding a lane really isn’t expensive. But with no room or lots of crossing bridges, it can be very expensive.
But one advantage of a busway is that it doesn’t have to be complete. From a mile to mile standpoint, you are correct, the prices are often similar. But from a system standpoint, busways are usually cheaper. Instead of building the bus tunnel, Metro could have built a tunnel and just run a small train back and forth. That would have probably cost about the same amount, but it would have been silly. It would have been unpopular, and folks would have demanded their bus continue through downtown (as they do now, despite a longer rail system right there). On the other hand, a busway can be only a few feet. Sometimes that is all that is needed to make a huge difference (even the little change for the 8 has probably made a big difference). Usually when you are dealing with rail, you can’t leverage the existing infrastructure, which means you are essentially starting from scratch, and have to create a long line to be useful. The exception, of course, is what leads to cost effective commuter rail.
“I think the biggest problem is the overall goal.”
“from the very beginning, there has been a focus on “the spine”.”
That’s what the politicians and the majority of voters see as the problem and the solution: getting through freeway traffic. That’s also when they see themselves using transit: when they’re going to Seattle or maybe Bellevue. The last-mile problem is no issue because that’s what P&Rs are for. What? You think they’ll take a local bus in the suburbs?
“The whole subarea equity thing was a way to address that, but it has failed. We should have simply built a county wide — or even city wide — system first.”
These two are contradictory. Subarea equity is doing exactly what it intended to, which was to prevent a city-wide or county-wide system first.
“Build the pieces that enable fast, convenient travel within the areas that have the most demand, then expand to the suburbs. That way, someone from the suburbs can get to their destination inside the city quickly”
Most people don’t think that way. They want something that bypasses the freeway traffic, because that’s what they perceive the problem to be. If they did think that way, we would have had that city HCT network you recommended. But they kept outvoting those who want a city network and electing politiians who wouldn’t support it.
“Build the pieces that enable fast, convenient travel within the areas that have the most demand, then expand to the suburbs. That way, someone from the suburbs can get to their destination inside the city quickly”
Exactly, and they would say the first is necessary and the second isn’t. Because the first is what enables the most people to get to jobs.
“This really should be a region wide transit consortium, with the head of each bus system involved in the talks. Each one I’m sure has a wish list of improvements, some of which don’t cost anything.”
The part you’re missing is that the people on these boards and represented by the boards also wants regional transit, not just their own incremental funding. They created Sound Transit precisely because they couldn’t address inter-county transit very effectively, because their inter-county routes were always being neglected due to local issues. They felt that we needed an agency with a mandate for regional transit and funding to build it, because otherwise it wasn’t going to happen.
Yes, heavy rail would have been better. ST chose light rail because it’s compatible with street-running, or as they said at the time it can be “surface, elevated, or underground — all three”. They envisioned a lot more surface track. like the existing light rails at the time were. Mt Baker to SeaTac, and presumably Federal Way. But one by one when they designed the segments, the neigborhoods said, “We don’t want surface. We don’t want it like Rainier Valley, and we’re willing to pay for elevated or a tunnel.” So ST backed into that.
“the focus was on serving a handful of suburban locations that will never come close to the ridership that our urban core will (even if we did shortchange the latter).”
Lynnwood, Everett, Bellevue, Redmond, Federal Way, and Tacoma aren’t “a handful of suburban locations” — they’re the largest suburban cities.
HOV-to-HOV “flyover” ramps are in the long term plan for both the 405-90 interchange and the 405-520 interchange. Neither projects are funded – rebuilding either interchange with flyover ramps is a solid $0.5B each, according to WSDOT’s documents. To call them “cost effective” is laughable.
Rebuilt interchanges at 85th, 44th, and 522 are in the 405 Master Plan. Whether those are paid for by ST (85 & 44) or by tolls (522) is secondary. ST is simply providing the cash upfront. ST is fully reimbursed by land-bank credits (which ST will turn around and “spend” on 520 or I5 ROW for Link projects), so ultimately these projects are paid for by WSDOT, not ST. If ST canceled the 85th project, the agency would end up writing the exact same check to WSDOT a year or two later for Federal Way, Lynnwood, or Redmond.
Ross, I don’t see how you can say ST and WSDOT aren’t coordinating when WSDOT is the lead agency on both of these projects.
If you look at 405, and you ask questions like “how can we make 405 better for transit and HOV drivers,” you get answers like, “hey, let’s rebuild some interchanges for buses and HOV.” You can quibble with the specific interchanges choosen, but I don’t know what else you were expecting from WSDOT.
The point is that we have plans for projects like the flyover ramps, but no funding. This, despite passing a huge freeway project at the state level and the biggest transit project in the region’s history. It seems like they could come together, and both chip in, the way that feds fund match local dollars. I’m thinking 200 million for each project from ST, with the state covering the rest. Yes, I would call that cost effective — way more cost effective than I-405 BRT.
Just to be clear, my main complaint is not with WSDOT (as far as coordination). My complaint is with ST, and their focus on “the spine” and spine-like projects in the suburbs (even when they involve buses). That really isn’t how to do it. You should have a series of overlapping bus routes — each of which gets improved travel time — instead of building one super-duper route, that not that many people will take (because — news flash! — not that many people live close to the freeway). The vast majority of riders will have to take a bus to get to the other bus (unless this really has horrible ridership). Why not build a system that involves a lot fewer transfers? Even ITDP (the folks who judge BRT systems) put special value in having extra routes on the same line, or a mix of express and local service (and that is for serving areas that aren’t just freeways).
Each agency does a good job in delegating to the other agency. ST asks WSDOT to build something, they build it. They ask Metro to run the buses, they run them. What they don’t do well is communicate when it comes to shared goals. WSDOT wants to see everyone moving. They focus too much on cars, but that is just life (in this state, anyway). At the same time, they certainly have spent money improving transit (via HOV improvements) and the tolling gives them extra money to do so. I see no reason why ST and WSDOT can’t each chip in, and build those things sooner. I think that would happen if there was better communication, as well as a focus on building things of that nature, as opposed to huge projects that will serve very few people.
The timing on all of this is very interesting. The first thing to happen (very soon) is that getting from 520 to the UW will be a bit easier. But it won’t be a picnic. The bus still has to leave the HOV lane and move to the far right lane to exit. That isn’t the end of the world, but there is a price to be paid (in time) for that move.
Next year we lose the Montlake stop. This makes the case for shifting service to the UW stronger. With no Montlake stop, the buses headed towards downtown can’t serve both. I would argue they did a poor job of it anyway, as the Montlake stop is still a long ways away from the UW (making the Husky Stadium station seem like it was well designed). But for many, it was their only way to get there.
At some point (I’m not sure if is next year or the year after) they kick the buses out of the bus tunnel. This will mean a lot more buses on the surface downtown, adding another argument for truncating 520 buses at the UW (and not having them go to downtown). There will simply be too many buses downtown. But it is important to remember that this “period of maximum constraint’ (or whatever it is called) is mainly a problem during rush hour. During the day or at night, sending buses downtown is not a big deal.
This means that you gain the most when you can truncate during rush hour. This is not when a bus agency wants to truncate. It is very common to have express buses that run from the suburbs to downtown only during rush hour. It is even common for them to run in a city with a good subway system. Suburb to downtown travel is often high enough to justify an express, but only during rush hour.
As luck would have it though, rush hour is also when truncating at the UW (and transferring to Link) is competitive with an express. A bus moves quickly on 520, but very slowly on I-5 (and on the surface). It is also when Link runs most often and it is when the Montlake bridge is down. Getting to the station is still no picnic, but at least fairly consistent (no bridge opening).
During this period, I think that it makes the most sense to truncate the buses at the UW during rush hour. By “truncate” I don’t mean having two different versions of the same route, but rather different routes. The routes headed downtown simply wouldn’t run during rush hour. The buses headed to the U-District would run there a lot (many of them would only run during that time). This relieves the pressure on buses downtown. There will be a price to pay for riders, but a relatively small price. Furthermore, I would increase the number and frequency of express buses to the U-District (which should be possible without extra cost). The last two runs of the 252 for example, leave Kingsgate at 7:03 and 7:30 AM. They should be able to run those every 15 minutes until 9:00 AM, since buses won’t be slogging their way to and through downtown. I see this as a big bonus for commuters in the Kingsgate/Totem Lake area. The alternative for those folks is to take the 255, which only runs every half hour (from Kingsgate) and worse yet, takes over a half hour before it can get on the freeway (from Kirkland). The 252/257 are also only peak direction buses. That means someone who wants to go downtown (or to the U-District, or pretty much anywhere in Seattle) has to ride the 255. For those riders, a more frequent, bidirectional bus to the UW is a huge improvement.
Along with that, we could really use better all day service to the UW. The simplest option for doing that is to send them all to the UW, all day long. The problem with that is that the time penalty in the middle of the day is substantial and in my opinion, not worth the cost (to riders). I would rather we keep the express to downtown buses (in the middle of the day) but run a bus to the UW more often. I don’t think we need lots of buses going to the U-District — just one would do. As long as a bus serves Evergreen Point Station (and the other buses headed to downtown do as well) then folks headed to the UW can transfer.
Things change a little for the area in 2021, when Link gets to Northgate. This relieves the pressure on rush hour buses, while Link takes up the slack.
But the big change occurs in 2023. This is when Link gets to Bellevue, which is likely to spur a bunch of bus restructures on the East Side. The 545, for example, just doesn’t make sense at that point. The weird part is, this is also when getting downtown from 520 becomes a lot easier because of the special express lane. This is an interesting combination. On the one hand, you can make the case that we really shouldn’t send any buses from the East Side to downtown (just as I don’t think we should send any buses from Snohomish County to downtown after 2021). Send them all to the UW or downtown Bellevue. On the other hand, for Kirkland, it makes sense to take advantage of that express lane. I have argued for an all day route like this: https://goo.gl/maps/zyA65i4xEuN2. (It would likely extend further into Kirkland, and run on Third, not Second). This would go South through downtown in the morning, then reverse itself when the express lanes reverse. As a means to get downtown, depending on where you were headed, it would be a bit faster or substantially faster than the alternative. Not only is it faster to downtown, but it complements Link. The train becomes a lot more attractive if you are headed to the south end of downtown, while the bus is much better if you are headed to the north end. Running an all day bus like that would be fairly easy as money is shifted from buses like the 545 and 550.
It would be very strange to see Sound Transit (or Metro) introduce new express buses from the East Side to downtown right around the time we build a light rail line from the East Side to downtown, but that is the way I see it going down.
Even outside of rush hour, sending buses downtown is no picnic. Yes, the freeway is typically fast, but you still have to deal with all the stoplights and traffic within downtown. Today, getting from one end of downtown to the the end on the 512 or 545 takes at least 20 minutes on a typical weekend. Just getting between 4th/Pine and the Olive Way/I-5 entrance ramp is, alone, a good 10 minutes – again, this is weekend, not rush hour. And, if there’s a special event going on, such as a Seahawks game (lots of extra traffic) or marathon (blocking the street), it can take far longer than this.
At the same time, the number of service hours available during the off-peak hours is less, which makes the “transfer at Evergreen Point to go to the U-district” idea difficult. And, UW football games, notwithstanding, the Montlake exit ramp is usually uncongested, making a UW Link connection easier. Today, the only bus route that even goes from Evergreen Point to the U-district outside of rush hour is the 542, which covers only the weekday midday period at 30-minute frequency, with no service on evenings or weekends whatsoever.
The 271 runs all day, 7 days a week, but does not serve either Yarrow Point or Evergreen Point freeway stations, so it can’t be used for transfers. Rerouting it so that it did would entail a loss of coverage in the Medina area which, while not that many riders, is still a politically powerful neighborhood, so getting through a restructure that would take away all of their bus service through the county council would be extraordinarily difficult. (Running a Bellevue TC->Medina->Evergreen Point shuttle is possible, but would generate very little ridership and suck up valuable service hours that would be better used elsewhere; the 271’s current routing allows you to say Medina has “coverage” at no additional cost, because it’s lucky enough to be on the way).
So, if the off-peak 255 and 545 continue to run as they do today, in a world without Montlake Freeway station, what options does somebody going from the Kirkland to the UW area have? You can transfer to the 542, but only with a wait time up to 30 minutes, and only during the weekday midday period. Evenings and weekends, the only option is to detour all the way downtown and ride Link all the way back. And, prior to 2021, getting to the actual U-district requires *another* bus connection (or avoiding Link altogether and slogging it out all the way on the much slower #70). Having to do all these steps to use the public transit system is ridiculous – you could ride all the way from Kirkland to the UW on a Lime bike in less time.
Also, service the U-district is not just about the U-district, but also about all the different places in north Seattle you can connect to from the U-district. For instance, if you want to go to Capital Hill, Roosevelt, Wallingford, Central District, Green Lake, or Lake City, making the connection at the Montlake Triangle is much faster than detouring all the way downtown. And, as Link extends northward, the connection between a westbound 520 bus and a northbound Link train is going to become a thing.
Basically, today’s bus routes were designed in an era when going to Seattle was synonymous with going downtown. While downtown still matters, the city is growing, and it is no longer acceptable to prioritize getting downtown 2-3 minutes faster at the expense of completely screwing over people trying to get anywhere else.
I write this post as someone who lives near the UW and works in Kirkland, and has ridden the 255 and 540 to work on many occasions. And, I think a great deal about the impact that the “rest of the west” construction project is going to have on my commute. The closure of Montlake Freeway station would leave me dependent on the 540, which runs only every 30 minutes, is very unreliable and, at times, 30+ minutes late, and the last trip home leaves my office as early as 5:40 PM (if it runs on time). On top of this, the HOV lane for much of the 520 bridge is going to close for several years as the eastbound traffic gets squeezed onto what’s now the westbound lanes, so the current eastbound lanes can be torn up and rebuilt. This will further degrade travel time.
I picked my current home, several years ago, in part because dealing with the cross-lake bus routes to get to work during rush hour, when the buses are frequent, seemed better than dealing with the cross-lake bus routes on evenings and weekends, when the buses are much less frequent. With the opening of the 520 bridge trail (making it possible to bike from DT Kirkland to UW in a reliable 40 minutes), plus reliable Lyft and Uber service on the eastside (to ride the 540 route when the 540 isn’t running, or avoid 50-minute wait times when the 255 reduces to hourly on weekend evenings), plus the impending closure of Montlake Freeway Station and a looming, multi-HOV lane construction closure, I have been re-considering this decision, and have been exploring the idea of moving close enough to work to have a walking commute, and only dealing with the off-peak bus service to Seattle 2-3 times per week. If the 255 could be re-directed to the Montlake Triangle, with the hours saved by avoiding downtown poured into increased evening/weekend frequency, this would be a much easier decision. However, even without a restructure, I believe that with the right combination of bike riding and app-based ride hailing, I can make it work.
But, to put it bluntly, riding the bus all the way downtown to go to the U-district (or any of the surrounding neighborhoods), or waiting 20 minutes at Evergreen Point for a 542 connection is something I would be flat-out unwilling to do, even once a week – if push came to shove, I would bike all the way – or pay for Uber before spending all that time riding buses around in circles. Most others would simply drive all the way – even if it means sitting in traffic during rush hour, just to have the car available to get home at 10 PM, going the other way.
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