33 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Link Crosses I-90”

  1. No mention of how many people the LRVs will carry. No mention of how often they will run. No mention of the route and how many neighborhoods will get service.

    Four mentions that the work will not severely impact your driving commute. FTW!

    1. A mention at the end of the clip, “When East Link opens, ah to the public it’ll it’ll greatly [emphasis mine] reduce the number of people driving over I-90.” Really? Existing bus passengers aren’t “driving”. This quote implies a mass exodus from cars to the light rail. That off course would never happen because of induced demand. So the only explanation that makes sense is that congestion will increase thereby shifting trips to SR-520.

    2. As above posters have said, this isn’t a very informative video. It does show a few seconds of animation from a much more visually explanatory video from Sound Transit here:

      I would agree that some ridership facts are needed. How many people cross the I-90 bridges on transit today? What’s the opening year ridership supposed to be? How many of those additional riders are coming from new residents, more quick destinations to reach (induced demand), shifts from driving or other crossings (520)? I’ve not seen updated numbers since ST3 was passed two years ago!

      I wouldn’t blame the lack of information entirely on the media. Sound Transit should be out in front with basic, current public relations facts about ridership more than they are.

      1. Was there ever any stats done on previous Link additions such as the CH and University additions? I would be curious to know the breakdown between 1) thank god I don’t need to use the bus anymore, 2) induced demand, 3) car converts and 4) i’m a new transplant and need a lift.

      2. I fell like updated ridership statics should come out ever 5 year or so. You only get population data once a year. Ans how much can an estimate really change year over year?

      3. It changes pretty significantly when new segments pick up more riders, suggesting a reset of the baseline (U-Link, 2016); phenomenal job growth (more than forecasted) continues to occur in Downtown Seattle; new extensions get funded (ST3 in 2016) and assumed frequencies go from eight minutes (EIS) to six minutes (ST3).

      4. “I wouldn’t blame the lack of information entirely on the media.”

        Really? Have you watched local news lately? They are better at covering teen dance trends and dressing up in costume while covering the inaccurate weather forecast than they are doing actual journalism.

    3. I’d like to see a forecast saying what percent of Lake Washington bridge users are on transit today and in the future — at both the peak periods and in an average weekday. I don’t have those numbers, but I checked Metro and ST weekday route data compared to WSDOT weekday traffic volumes (and allowed for more than 1 passenger per car) and it’s about 12-14 percent today and will probably be about 20-25 percent once East Link opens and some 520 riders shift over. During peak times it would certainly have to be higher.

      That’s important to describe because it would help validate the relevance of transit in the corridor to counter the transit skeptics. A clip that says something like “one out of every four people on the I-90 floating bridge at peak times is on transit, and when East Link opens it will be one out of three” would be very succinct and powerful.

      1. One of the most common arguments of transit’ opponents is: “It won’t cure congestion.” For a lot of illness and injuries, it can also take awhile before the patient starts to recover. Though itching usually gets medicated a lot faster.

        New York’s first modern subway (the little fan-propelled barrel with a sofa and lamp unfortunately didn’t count)… Stuffed like a sausage from the its opening minute in 1904, the system stole passengers not so much from streetcars, but from sidewalks on Broadway where nobody could even walk at rush hour.

        Seattle 2018, everybody can still drive and put up with it. But discomfort- and late reports-accelerating at patience-warping velocity. Much of Thurston and adjoining counties now and cow and forest free. So give EastLink at least five years before deciding which evidence of failure is worse, empty seats or overloaded roofs.

        Especially if they’re on the roof because they can’t get a seat downstairs. But at least they’ll be having fun waving at the motorists still commuting in reverse gear because it’s so much faster than whatever fifth is in hybrid. Because- sorry John and Maggie- 80 mph rail is not for eliminating congestion, but just making it optional.


        Bet me Jenny Durkan won’t throw the regular driver out the window bypassing Angle Lake Detention, I mean Station, with the throttle down at 90 on first Link train to Tacoma.


  2. I’m curious what the pros and cons of pouring this structure in place, rather than prefabricating it, are. Prefab elevated rail is a thing that exists, and to a lay person it seems like it’d be faster and less labor intensive by far. For that matter, is any part of the Link system prefab or is all poured in place?

    1. IIRC, the contract was design build so it’s up to the contractor (Parsons Brinckerhoff?) to choose the method of construction. My guess is that staging cranes in the swamp would be extremely difficult. And the sections you could prefab limited by what can be moved by truck over the existing roadway.

    2. There appears to be prefab sections of the track base already in place for the sections between I-90 and the South Bellevue Station. I’m not sure if there are tracks on top or not.

      I’d imagine that the wider distance between the supports as well as the curve and the slope influenced the method used to build this particular segment.

    3. All of the elevated sections under construction that are visible from 520 westwards from Overlake are prefab, so I think local conditions are the deciding factor.

  3. At 1:40ish, the announcer says “slated to be done by approximately two thousand twenty three, twenty four.”

    This is the first mention I’ve heard of East Link not finishing in 2023. Is this TV journalism at its finest, or is has East Link been delayed?

    1. The last two stations on the line, from Redmond Technology Center to SE Redmond and Downtown Redmond, won’t open until 2024, as the first ST3 project. Those two stations had to be cut from the initial East Link project.

      The line is actually progressing quickly enough that there’s a not insignificant chance the line to Redmond Technology Center could open early.

      1. That’s not correct. ST2 as passed in Nov 2008 only provided funding for PE, environmental assessment and potential early ROW acquisition for the extension past Overlake into downtown Redmond. Those two stations were never part of the ST2 East Link project.

      2. Note: I don’t know (or care) when funding was secured for the 2024 Redmond extension. I had just forgotten that it was a separate plan. So some of you might be right (about funding, that is.) But selkirk’s on the nose about what the reporter was saying.

      3. Lol. “TV journalism at its finest” is somehow different than incorrect and/or revisionist blog postings then? The fact of the matter is that the Downtown Redmond extension stations were never part of the East Link project.

      4. I have no idea about the Sound Transit blog posts. It has always been difficult to find history on the ST site. Usually I have to rely on newspaper archives for an extemporaneous accounting. Sound Transit is always good about saying “this is how it has always been!”

        Details are in a Puget Sound Business Journal article from February 2016. Here are some excerpts from: https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/2016/02/light-rail-may-reach-federal-way-downtown-bellevue.html

        …the Sound Transit Board of Directors restored funding for preliminary engineering on extending light rail to both Federal Way and downtown Redmond.


        On the Eastside, the future light-rail line is now planned to go only to the Overlake area of Redmond; it’s part of the East Link extension, a $3.7 billion line from Seattle.


        Regional voters approved funding for preliminary engineering for the Federal Way and Redmond Link extensions in the 2008. The recession wiped out $4.2 billion of Sound Transit’s projected tax revenue. So the agency began whittling down its project list.

        On Thursday, the Sound Transit board agreed to extend East Link from the Redmond Technology Center in Overlake to downtown Redmond. Final design and construction of the extension is a candidate project for a Sound Transit 3 ballot measure.

      5. In the 2008 crash ST deferred S 240th and 272th Stations, in a deal with Federal Way that advanced planning and engineering through to 320th, which wasn’t originally in ST2 because it wouldn’t fit in the budget. After the recovery ST restarted 240th. Something similar may have happened in Redmond. In any case, “funding preliminary engineering” means only planning, not construction. Each ST phase funds construction for certain extensions and planning for the phase after that. When ST3 passed, suddenly 240th was folded into ST3 and postponed a year, and will open with 272nd and 320th in 2024. The two downtown Redmond stations were added, and selkirk says they open in 2024. But if construction goes faster than planned they could open early. I don’t know how likely that is.

      6. @AP “It has always been difficult to find history on the ST site….Sound Transit is always good about saying “this is how it has always been!”

        Both true.

        And now that ST has moved to their new website it has gotten even harder to dig into said history as much of the archived material has been removed from the site and will now require assistance from the librarian and/or an official open records request to obtain these older documents. Thankfully (for myself) I have downloaded and saved many of the planning documents related to Sound Move and ST2, as well as many of their financial reporting documents, annual TIPs, quarterly progress reports, etc. Of course that is little help to people such as yourself and Sound Transit should be called out for this archiving decision as it does the exact opposite of promoting transparency.

    2. I noticed that too. I think it’s a mistake in that the announcer should have said 2022/2023. That’s what the latest Q3 Link Progress Report still indicates, specifically a revenue service date target of June 2023 with a 9-month float (273 days of float to be exact).

      Regardless, even if ST meets the current target date, this project will still be delivered late.

    3. I noticed that too. The casualness of the remark does seem odd.

      Perhaps it’s more of an indictment of the reporter or editor, who is either not explaining about Downtown Redmond or who is naively unaware that this would be a more significant news story than how a bridge gets built.

  4. 1) I can’t wait to ride the first “Badassuchi Express” to Bellevue… stoked.

    2) Hey listen, since this is an open thread some head’s up…

    a) Everett Transit is upping their fares in 2019, mostly to cover the cost of Next Gen ORCA.

    b) Community Transit is starting down the road towards a low income fare. I sent the PowerPoint to Seattle Transit Blog staff when I got it.

    c) Skagit Transit is exploring some fare reforms in 2019, so stay tuned. But 100% NOT joining ORCA… just too many problems with that.

    d1) BC Green MLA Adam Olsen had a BC Transit on his FB Live show last Friday. Well worth a listen.

    d2) I will be headed down to the Victoria area the weekend of 1-2 Dec for the RCAF Sea King retirement. I’ll report back how riding that brand of BC Transit was.

    1. Careful, Sam; we don’t want people to get the misconception the trains will leap off the track.

  5. We’ve got a 28th anniversary coming up this week. Anybody want to celebrate?


    And anybody who can’t go, make it, another party today next month:




    And most pertinent now that we’re into subject of trainmen and passengers ‘lives ” shortened by pressure to keep schedules like the folk songs say…any chance somebody’s offices were sensitive about delayed opening of service? So Brian Bundridge, will appreciate any corrections of yours. Hope I’m lying about everything.

    But just to be safe, anybody who owned those tracks – like Sound Transit, for instance-and permitted train one to come out of Lakewood at 80 mph with a 30 mph curve ahead any closer than Lacey – make a note not to put me on the jury.

    Mark Dublin

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