12 Replies to “Podcast #68: Pokémon Will Save Us”

  1. You guys missed a couple of key things re: 14th:

    1) 14th is 3 normal blocks east of 15th. They’re over 2 football fields apart – that’s a bigger deal than the street numbering would have you believe.

    2) 14th would detract greatly from ridership for those going into Ballard as a destination. It would be at least a 15 minute walk to the heart of Old Ballard where everything that people want to get to in Ballard is. Even if we do upzone East of 15th, you’re not going to recreate something like Ballard Avenue and the pedestrian-oriented storefronts you get West of 17th and Market. As you know, a 10-minute walk and a 15-minute walk are two very different things when we’re talking about people using a transit station to get to a destination.

    1. It should not be too hard to build a train station where people want to go. i want to go to Ballard. 15th is barely Ballard. 14th is not.

      And yes, technically 14th might be Ballard, but 14th is NOT where people want to go.

      We should serve the people who live in Ballard,

      The imaginary people who are going to populate the imaginary future density east of 15th should be served by the imaginary future light rail line from Ballard to UW.

      1. 15th is barely Ballard? it cuts through the middle of Ballard, for most commuters. 14th to 15th is certainly not 3 blocks long, maybe 2. 15 minute walk north from Market and 15th will get you past 65th, south will get you across the Ballard Bridge, East will get you past 8th NW, and west will get you close to Taco Time. In 5 years, where do you want to go in Ballard? What about other people, you know east of 15th. If you can’t walk to a transit station, maybe drive.

    2. The big question for me is how much elevation change is required between the platform and the street. At both Chinatown and Ballard (and all of the other stations in the study) the major maps show where platforms are – but not where station entrances are (both elevation and locations).

      I’ll keep mentioning that each alternative needs to estimate the rough number of steps to the street , and the walking distance and walk time both from the platform and the entrance/exit and from the entrance/exit to major locations in the neighborhood. Finally, the average delay waiting for each signal that a pedestrian must cross needs to be described. We should be further into valuing the connectivity than t have one qualitative rating of better or worse for riders who walk and/or transfer.

      I appreciate that you guys want to put riders first – rather than the stakeholder who put their own organizations before the riders. Thanks!

    3. “The imaginary people who are going to populate the imaginary future density east of 15th should be served by the imaginary future light rail line from Ballard to UW.”

      Excellent! That sums up how I feel about current and future density. 15th itself is already a compromise toward speculative density, and hoping the retail district won’t be as useless and devoid of pedestrians as MLK at Columbia City Station. Cities and developers just don’t seem to understand how to build a Ballard Ave or University Way or Summit Ave now; when they try they end up with something like Stone Way or U Village or the new buildings on Broadway. The only time they get it right is when the restore an existing building, but that depends on having existing good buildings to restore, which 15th and 14th don’t have.

    4. “the major maps show where platforms are – but not where station entrances are”

      Those come in a much later phase, after the alignment is chosen and the 30% and 60% design is underway. There are no entrances yet. Maybe there should be, but that’s not how the timeline is structured, and even if ST published some alternatives it certainly wouldn’t commit to them yet.

  2. wrt a chinatown 5th or 4th ave station alignment, martin makes the point that the 5th ave station would be better long term for businesses in chinatown and cheaper so that’s what should happen. however, if you get a new 4th avenue viaduct with a station underneath, you have amazing connectivity with sounder, better bus connectivity on 4th AND great link transfers AND union station. AND, you throw a bone to the business community in Chinatown that have been handed piles of broken promises from governments for decades.

    1. I’ll point out that it’s not just a two dimensional question. Elevation differences matter greatly. The number of transferring riders also matters – and ST never reports this.

      We should quit second-guessing things, and insist that ST report the estimated number of people using each platform and then where and how many any transferring riders go. We shouldn’t base spending hundreds of millions of dollars without actual forecast data and not just our emotions and reveries.

  3. 11:40 – You seem to get distracted by an unrealistic idea of truncating all north-south bus routes at a 45th line, as well as depending on turns and branches that ST has never endorsed. The purpose of a 45th line is all the destinations near 45th, and the optional alternative of a three-seat ride (north-south Link, 45th Link, E). But a mandatory three-seat ride is not in the cards for a neighborhood as active as Phinney/Greenwood. I have argued in the past that the 5 is redundant with the E, but people have mostly convinced me that they’re the right distance apart given the density of the areas and the fact that the 5 is more “local” and the E “express”. Grid cities like Chicago have parallel el lines like downtown-UDist and downtown-Ballard and also parallel bus routes when you get far enough away from them. Chicago has the Red and Brown lines but also the Clark bus and the Halstad bus. The E and 5 seem far enough and dense enough to remain. The 26 and 28 are lower density so they’re more borderline, but Metro is already planning to turn them into non-downtown routes. (26 in 2025: UDist-Latona-Greenlake-Northgate. 28 in 2040: SmithCove-Magnolia-8thNW-145th.)

    ST’s concept of a 45th line is Ballard-UW, possibly continuing to the Eastside somehow. There has been no acknowledgment of any other turns or branches to downtown. Maybe those will emerge later but it’s too soon to say. And if the Ballard line branches east and north, then you’d end up with 20-minute frequency on the 45th line, which is really substandard. It may be acceptable in Everett but not in the densest east-west corridor in North Seattle (or South Seattle for that matter).

  4. If the 3/4 are serving different needs than a decent-speed route from Garfield HS and Swedish Cherry Hill to downtown, then another route should fill that gap. Make the 27 frequent, put another route on Cherry, get Link into the CD… anything rather than just doing nothing and saying the problem doesn’t exist. People near the 2, 3, and 4 have just as much right to a robust-speed route as people on the 70, 7, and 67. I’ve seen the CD service for forty years and occasionally lived on it (the 2 at 19th and the 3/4 at Terry), and it’s just wrong. It shouldn’t take as long to get from downtown to Garfield HS as from downtown to 85th or downtown to Southcenter.

  5. 41:37 Access vans have limited service areas. If you’re going a long distance you have to transfer from Access van to Access van at the transit centers. I don’t know how large the service areas are but I wouldn’t assume you can get a one-seat ride from Bellevue to Greenlake, or Greenwood to Federal Way.

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