94 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Bidding ADU to Delay Tactics”

  1. I see that none of the folks who like 15th for an elevated station have replied to the two very obvious detractions of that location:

    1) To achieve the goal of access to both sides of 15th without crossing 15th at street level, the station must have a mezzanine or be a permanent “stub-end” facility with a walkway around the end of the tracks. This means that the platforms will have eye level views into the apartments on the third floors of the two big buildings on the northwest and northeast corners and the mezzanine into the second.

    Yes, ST can prevent this invasion of privacy by cladding the mezzanine and platform levels with opaque siding. Lovely!

    2) Bus transfers to the northbound D successor will result in waits for a second or even third bus regularly. Four car light-rail trains can carry roughly eight to ten articulated bus loads, and the majority of people riding north out of Downtown/SLU in the evening will be headed for the Ballard station.

    If 1/4 of the riders want to take the D successor — not an unreasonable portion — half will be waiting at the corner of 15th Car Sewer and Market Throughway for a second bus and a few sometimes for a third. An upzoned and revitalized 14th would be much more pleasant.

    Everyone howls about “rider experience” and then claims that the corner of one seven-lane and one five-lane car sewers is the cat’s pajamas of bus intercepts. Bull puckey.

    1. If the station is built at the best possible location, passengers will be able to easily access frequent routes D, 40 and 44, plus peak routes 15, 17, 19 and 29.

      14th reduces the number of routes that would be easily available.

      Nobody builds a system where vast crowds of people wait 20-30 minutes for a connecting bus. The number of passengers willing to do this on a regular basis just doesn’t exist. You get what? Maybe 7 or so transferring from Link to the 106 at Rainier Beach Station each trip? Maybe 3-4 at Beacon Hill?

      You are better off at the location that provides the best connection to bus routes so that people don’t have to wait long periods. Otherwise, people just find some other way to get there.

      1. Yeah, interestingly enough, if the station was at Leary and 15th (or thereabouts) you would have the best of both worlds. This isn’t obvious, and did not become apparent until you (Glenn) mentioned the 15 (or D, or whatever you want to call a bus on 15th). Put a station at Leary and Market and a lot of people would walk to the station. Way more than 14th, and significantly more than 15th. That is much closer to the cultural, population and employment center of the area. But it does mean the 15 has to take a turn. But that turn (to Ballard) is one that many riders (who have no interest in riding Link) would welcome. If it is raining out, or you are in a hurry, and are headed to the west side of Ballard then it makes sense to avoid the ugly walk, and just get off the bus later. Obviously the situation is worse than if the station was on 15th, but in exchange the folks on 24th get a better ride. It is a fair trade (roughly 50-50).

        But if the station is at 15th, then it isn’t clear what to do. Do you move the 40, skipping Old Ballard, by running by the station? Metro, in its long range plan, does not. This would mean that folks would have a pretty sizeable walk (or another transfer) to get to the station. If you do skip Old Ballard, then you have created a service hole. That hole gets bigger if you go to 14th. It is a long walk to get to the station, and a long walk to take the bus to the station, or take the bus to Fremont. Instead of this (https://goo.gl/maps/sagfLLcV6bw), you have this (https://goo.gl/maps/Y1XfewGadeH2) or this (https://goo.gl/maps/mdCDGb3NN6F2). It is no wonder that Metro didn’t shift the 40 over to serve the station at 15th, and it would be even more surprising if they shifted it over to serve 14th. I’m not saying that is the right decision, but either way it is worse for the bus network than a station at Leary. Either they just live with the fact that most riders will have a bad connection to Link in Ballard, or we have a big service hole.

      2. What about the limited walkshed south of 15th & Leary? You’re arguing for a station where the 15, 17, and 18 used to meet. That was not close to destinations and required exessive walking to get to to avoid waiting twice as long, especially for those living along the 15.

      3. I don’t know about Rainier Beach Station, but I do see about a dozen transferring riders boarding route 107 (which I assume is the route you meant) at Beacon Hill Station, in the evening… if it starts before route 60 arrives. If route 60 arrives first, that dozen will board that bus, and route 107 will take off mostly empty a couple minutes after that. Metro got the transfer location right, but failed to schedule routes 60 and 107 as two branches of the same trunk on 15th Ave S. I’ve whined about this many times, but I guess I have to go bend the knee to a neighborhood association and talk to a lot of car drivers to get Metro’s ear about this painfully wasted opportunity for 15-minute headway throughout the weekend and in evenings.

        SDoT, for its part, got the transfer environment right at Beacon Hill to begin with, improved it with an island in the middle of Beacon Ave S, and then messed it up (after the Durkan administration took over) by adding stop lights at each end of the station block. Now, cars move much faster through what should be, and had been, treated like a school zone. (Maybe we need to get state legislative authority for bus zones, with the same signage and enforcement treatment as school zones, especially since Metro is carrying a lot of the kids who used to have to ride yellow buses?)

        If anyone from SDoT and/or Metro happens to be reading this, the other minor tweak needed is to move the southbound bus stop further south, to make room for two buses to board simultaneously. That’ll help cars too, as they won’t have to queue up behind the second bus hanging out a block north to avoid blocking the box. Moving the stop further south will also work better with the island, as it will remove the room that tricks hasty drivers into crossing into on-coming traffic and trying to squeeze around the dwelling bus. Heck, I’m not sure why cars need to use that block at all. They could use Lander and 15th instead.

        Route 106 and Link on MLK is not a good test case for how to do transfers. Passengers can transfer at any of four stations, so you have to stay on route 106 past all four stations to gather useful data.

      4. No, Link can’t be extended from a southwest corner station. There’s a brand new six story apartment building on the northwest corner, dead ahead of the tracks in such a station. It probably cost $80 million to build. ST would never tear that down.

        If you put the station south of 54th, it might work, but you’d force all transfers to routes on Market to walk a block.

        That would be routes serving 32nd, 24th, and 8th north of Market, and Market itself of course.

        It’s not the ten thousand mile block between 14th and 15th, certainly, but a lot if people would be making the walk. Assuming an elevated crossing of 15th, it would make the transfer to the northbound D/15 successor a little more pleasant.

        This might be a low-cost solution that allows future extension north as in the long-term plan. It is not, however, a station at 15th and Market.

        And an elevated station centered over 15th and Market is what I’ve been arguing has serious engineering obstacles.
        Unfortunately that is what everyone clearly assumes will be built if “15th Elevated” is chosen. This is implicit in nearly everyone’s mention of “access to both sides of 15th”.

        You clearly don’t think so and you’re probably right. That’s what the representative alignment map looks like. But now everyone else can understand clearly the limited, poorly expandable option for which you are advocating.

        Please clarify whether you would choose a station in the southwest corner of 15th and Market with no expansion possibility or one south of 54th.

      5. And as to your “who cares” dismissal if riders from east of 15th, read all the comment history and you’ll find at least eight different people who advocate for some version of “no street crossing at grade of 15th”. I expect the neighborhood agrees.

        Given an all westside placement rather than centered over the street, that us easier. But you get a less severe version of Mount Baker, which EVERYone hates.

      6. And as to your “who cares” dismissal if riders from east of 15th, read all the comment history and you’ll find at least eight different people who advocate for some version of “no street crossing at grade of 15th”. I expect the neighborhood agrees.

        Given an all westside placement rather than centered over the street, that us easier. But you get a less severe version of Mount Baker, which EVERYone hates.

        So you are basically arguing for a 14th alignment, because aligning on the east side of 15th is terrible? That is like saying you might as well kick me in the groin because you just slapped me upside the head.

        Look, I agree (with everyone) that crossing 15th sounds like a bad idea. I’m just saying that crossing 15th *and* walking over to 14th is worse.

        As to extending it north, I don’t think you get what I’m saying. If the train is on the west side, and you went north, you would just take a lane. Run it on the street, right next to that apartment building. That means one less lane on the street.

        Except not necessarily. If the city really feels like it needs all those lanes, it expands the road, to the other side. That means, at worse, you have a little squiggle while driving. But that isn’t bad, and in fact something the city prefers (it keeps the speed down).

        Or you just take a lane. One of the original proposals for the Ballard line had the thing going north to 85th on the surface. I assume that it would just take a lane (and not run in mixed traffic).

        Any elevated proposal, on either side, that involves an extension is going to cost a fair of money unless they take a lane. There is a brand new building on the northwest side, and a brand new building going up on the northeast side (https://goo.gl/maps/ywCieLwBqcz). The cheapest way to extend this thing farther north would be to take a lane. Second cheapest is either cut and cover (which probably won’t be possible if the station is too deep) or just buying up the property and running elevated. Yes, that is expensive, but not nearly as expensive as deep bore tunneling. Once you get past Market, there really aren’t that many big expensive buildings until you get to Crown Hill (although more are being built). The good news is that as you get further north, the street widens to essentially 7 lanes (parking on both sides, with 2 lanes each direction and a center turn lane). That means you could run the train much of the way by simply eliminating parking.

        I don’t think having the station at 14th makes it any easier or cheaper to extend it (unless you ended at 65th, which would be silly). You would have to make two 90 degree turns, and both would likely require buying up some property. By the time we even consider extending this all of the corner lots will have big buildings. I think it would be harder to just take a lane on 65th as well (it is much narrower than 15th).

        In other words, neither would be cheap unless you take a lane, and the only way that would happen is with a station on 15th.

      7. What about the limited walkshed south of 15th & Leary? You’re arguing for a station where the 15, 17, and 18 used to meet. That was not close to destinations and required exessive walking to get to to avoid waiting twice as long, especially for those living along the 15.

        It really isn’t that limited. Yes, you do run into the water eventually, but you make up for that by the fact that the streets run in a diagonal manner, towards the station. It is a five minute walk to the station from the Tractor Tavern, for example (https://goo.gl/maps/4Edy4XiL6Qq) and it would be a couple minutes further if you went via the north-south-east-west grid (https://goo.gl/maps/YY1j3MGmr722). This means you extend the range to include all of old Ballard, as well some of the newer apartments in the area (https://goo.gl/maps/MVUNqnWo4fm) and medical jobs around Swedish (https://goo.gl/maps/B7zpdgGrQVK2). Nor is it really that close to the water. You still have places that direction, like the new office buildings going up on the other side of Shilshole (https://goo.gl/maps/ebB5j2FnM7v). So while you cut into that quarter (and it is only a quarter) you don’t cut into it that much (since the most important part — the part close to the station — still has coverage). You certainly don’t cut into it as much as if you had a station at 24th.

        Yes, folks on 15th lose out, but as has been mentioned repeatedly, there are just a lot more people to the west. If the station was oriented east-west, then you would probably have an entrance at 20th as well.

        But I know what you are saying. A station that far west is not an obvious trade-off. You win some, you lose some. But that is why two stations in Ballard make a lot of sense (one at 15th and one at Leary). Both have value (for walk-up riders and bus connections). The obvious way to add two stations is with a Ballard to UW line. The other way is what Al is proposing, which I think makes a lot of sense. It probably would cost a little bit more, but if it enabled two stations, then it adds value (a lot of value). Having both stations share the same line would be ideal. That way anyone close to either station (pretty much all of lower Ballard) would be able to get to Lower Queen Anne, downtown, Fremont and the U-District quickly.

    2. I think most everyone would prefer the station be well to the west (e. g. Leary and Market). That would be ideal, but it would cost too much. As to your points:

      1) Who cares if you have to cross the street from the east. Not that many people live there (nor will ever live there). Those that do live very close, and while the crossing won’t be pleasant, it won’t be the end of the world. This makes it different than putting the station on 14th where the bulk of the population would have both a very long walk *and* an ugly crossing before you get to the station. Just put the station at the west side of the street, by the Walgreens. Add a staircase to the north as well, on the edge of the street (essentially an elevated walkway). That is/was the basic plan. It is also common throughout the world. It is also common for elevated stations to be placed very close to large buildings.

      I don’t want to pick on you, but this sort of anti-urban mentality is why our stations have been so poor. There is this idea that transit is ugly, that platforms are ugly, and that we need to shield the populace from them. Don’t put a station close to the high school, that would be nasty. So they put it off to the side, next to a greenbelt, and then wonder why ridership there is so low. If you have been to cities with elevated stations, you know that it is very common (and just fine) to have trains close to big buildings.

      2) I don’t think you will routinely see people having to wait a long time for a bus to head north. There just aren’t that many people who ride the 15. It doesn’t run that often (between 7 and 12 minutes, mostly 7). That is frequent enough to reach peak value (i. .e adding more runs won’t make it much more valuable) but it isn’t super crowded. Much of the crowding that exists is not due to the huge numbers who come from further north, but the fact that it is constantly adding people along the way (at 15th and at Interbay). A bus won’t have to do that, so I don’t see it as that big of a deal. Run the bus more often, and you eliminate the waiting (you can essentially create bus bunching). Make the bus stop bigger, and run a handful of buses that start there (waiting to fill up) and you eliminate the problem. But again, I doubt that will be that big of an issue. But if you are worried about too many crowded buses, then putting the bus well outside of the population center isn’t a good idea. Put the bus too far east (at 14th) and you will need to add a lot of extra buses running west.

      No one thinks that 15th is a great stop or that the rider experience there will be great (nice straw man). People have repeatedly said, over and over, that it is not ideal. But 14th would be worse — much worse.

      1. So you’re assuming that a quarter to a third of each block to the west of 15th from Salmon Bay to Market will be dedicated to the light rail guideway? And that the station will be entirely west of 15th and entirely south of Market?

        Well then, yes, that would work geometrically, but it can never be extended in ANY direction.

        I really don’t think that’s what the region wants.

      2. Ross, you have to add the folks on the current D north of Market to the ridership on the 15 to arrive at what the demand will be. And, yes, the Crown Hill UV has been pretty seriously upzoned in anticipation of a light rail stop in the future.

        The riders are coming.

      3. @Tom — My point is if the bus was overflowing with passengers by the time it reached 15th, Metro would be scrambling to increase headways *on the 15*. Yes, they could increase frequency on the D but it would make more sense to increase headways on the 15, since it is a more direct shot to downtown. Furthermore, if the bus was full, it would be a disaster. It would mean thousands of riders at places like 15th and Interbay would be out of luck. Some riders certainly get off at 15th, but more get on. That means by the time it reached Interbay it would just pass people up. But that isn’t the case, obviously. Yes, Crown Hill will grow (other places will grow as well). As I said (and others did as well) putting a bus or two there (on 15th) would be an easy way to solve the problem if it ever became one. What you don’t want to do build your system with remote, suburban style transit parks for every stop. It means that you should *maximize walk-up ridership*, which means moving the station as far as possible to the west.

        So you’re assuming that a quarter to a third of each block to the west of 15th from Salmon Bay to Market will be dedicated to the light rail guideway? And that the station will be entirely west of 15th and entirely south of Market?

        Pretty much, yes. That was the plan. It makes sense, when you think about it. Running to the west side of the street makes sense, because that is where the people are. As far as being completely south of Market, my guess is that is a cost savings thing. Not ideal (obviously it would be better to straddle Market) but as long as you have a ramp from the northern side, it would be no big deal (typically you move horizontally to change levels anyway, and Market isn’t that wide).

        As far as extending it, of course this could be extended. it is right next to the street. It really doesn’t matter which side of the street it is on as far as extending it goes. Even if they want to keep the street with as many lanes as exists now (which seems unlikely) you can simply carve out street space on the other side.

        While being on the west side of the street is ideal (for a stop on 15th) I could also see a center running track, for the same reason. If you need all those lanes, then you simply take them. In other words, there really is no fundamental difference between taking a lane or two for a train, or taking a lane or two for cars after the train has taken a lane or two from the cars. Either way you are widening the road.

        But we are really getting into the fine details here. Of course they are important, but putting the station on the other side of the street, or in the middle of the street would still be much better than putting it on 14th. Being worried about crowded buses heading north (which would be more crowded if the station is on 14th) or being eye level with apartment dwellers seems like taking a fundamentally suburban approach to what should be an urban station. It’s like wondering where the parking is. Sure, it seems like a lot of our stations have that. But there are lots and lots of mass transit stations throughout the world that don’t have that, and they function just fine.

    3. There is no successor to the D. In Metro’s 2040 plan the only route that crosses the Ballard Bridge is a Frequent route from Smith Cove to Magnolia (24th W), Thorndyke, 15th NW, Market Street, 8th NW, to 145th station. The only Uptown route that goes to Interbay is a 7 extension from Smith Cove to lower Queen Anne, Denny, Boren, and Rainier. (Is that our Metro 8 subway in disguise?)

      I doubt the challenge over window views will be taken seriously. In cities people have windows and others can see into them. Forcing city mobility to be hindered and hundreds of passengers inconvenienced for twenty residents sounds like overkill, the same kind as single-family residents not wanting duplexes or apartments around them. The surface-level MLK segment has houses with windows at the same level and that didn’t block the line from being constructed there.

      1. I don’t think TT is really thinking about a D like we know it today. I bet he is talking about a bus on 15th, serving areas to the north of Market. The D would probably be what they label as “1010” (a RapidRide bus) on the map. It would basically go down 15th until Leary, then find a place to park.

      2. Right, Ross. That’s why I try to call it “D line successor”. I fail to do so always, though.

      3. The houses on Martin Luther King also have two lanes of traffic looking in their windows, from closer than the platforms.

      4. caution: the Metro Connects networks are not set in stone; they are planning artifices; the actual networks will be determined after more public process and have actual budget constraints. the networks will adjust to the actual Link stations; Link stations will have to be on Link alignments.

      5. Right, but it’s the closest to the most likely routes we have at this point. The bus routes would certainly move if the stations move, and some station options can make some route plans unviable. But in general it’s Metro’s best estimate of where the frequent routes from each station should go to to accommodate people’s aggregate trips. Some of them seem arbitrary, but on the other hand I can’t necessarily say that they’re wrong. Something has to serve 8th Ave NW; something has to serve 34th Ave W; something has to serve Dexter and NE 65th Street; who’s to say that it’s worse to connect them together than not to?

    4. As I continue to contemplate this issue and visited the area again yesterday,, I’m increasingly convinced that an east-west station platform straddling Market (south side of the street) combined with a track turn at 14th and the bridge at 14th is a viable solution to consider. It may even be possible to attain enough distance to put a shallow station underneath 15th and Market by digging down, elevating the street or intersection, or a hybrid of the two. That way, no rider ever has to cross 15th as a pedestrian.

      It looks like crossing at 14th is pretty useful, less disruptive during construction and less expensive. The detailed design question of the actual station layout and location of the platform and entrances needs more work beyond the current alternatives. I’m not sure if that detail has to be decided in 2019 as the line won’t open until at least 2035.

      One advantage of an east-west station is that it creates an opportunity to put branch tracks to/from the north near Leary and 14th so that Link could eventually veer off underneath the track rise towards Fremont, Phinney/Aurora and even Wallingford and UW. Assuming the trains are in protected space, drivers could stay in the cab at Ballard and simply back up the train for the rest of the trip. Trains will probably be essentially driverless by 2035 anyway.

      The biggest disadvantage is that it would be harder to extend it to Crown Hill. I explored the area and frankly it’s not nearly as nearly as dense as the corridor towards UW.

      1. Curving around to serve 15th would certainly be better than ending at 14th. If the whole thing is underground, than it would make a lot of sense. But if the whole thing is underground, then it makes sense to just to the heart of Ballard (e. g. Leary and Market).

        So, are you suggesting that the train cross a bridge over to 14th, then go down under the surface (cut and cover) and then swing around to serve 15th? If so, I like that idea as well. I’m not sure how easy it is to pull off, or if it would make sense (since we would be disrupting the biggest intersection) to just keep going, and do it all at once (put a station at 15th and 24th). Of course adding both stations adds a lot of money, but it would be worth it, both in the short and long run (and still likely way cheaper than adding a tunnel in Ballard and West Seattle). But even if we simply added the one cut and cover station at 15th it sounds like a good idea. It does make sense to have the tracks headed that way, as it would be easier to leverage with a future Ballard to UW line, as you say.

        If you are suggesting an elevated east-west station, then I’m not so sure about that. I suppose that again could be sent west towards 32nd, and again could be reused for a Ballard to UW line. But the line would eventually have to go underground. This makes it different than the ST3 line. That line is elevated at Interbay, and thus it makes sense to make it elevated over the canal.

      2. I don’t care where the crossing or track is as long as the station is at 15th. But if the track comes up 14th and turns west to a station at 15th, that puts it pointing west, which precludes both a northern extension and an eastern extension. It could turn north but that’s two 90-degree turns next to each other. It couldn’t turn east without completely reversing direction.

      3. Oh, and as far as Crown Hill goes, there are a few arguments for it:

        1) It wouldn’t be that expensive to continue an elevated line that direction (and add two stops).

        2) It is already being rezoned to allow for a lot more people.

        3) It would connect well with buses to the east. Someone in Greenwood would shave quite a bit of time by taking a bus that direction, instead of slogging over to Roosevelt.

        That doesn’t mean it is an especially strong argument. It is quite likely that a north-south line will never be extended. It has been brought up because it is simply another reason (however small) that 14th makes less sense than 15th. Your idea (if it could be pulled off) would be fine by me. It is more important that we reduce the cost of a UW to Ballard line as opposed to a northern extension of this line.

      4. But if the track comes up 14th and turns west to a station at 15th, that puts it pointing west, which precludes both a northern extension and an eastern extension.

        Eastern extension? I think to head east (to the UW) you would simply reuse the pathway. That means either adding a switch (so that after 15th, half the trains go south, and half go east) or adding extra tracks. Both complicate matters, for sure, but they probably make it cheaper in the long run to get to the UW. Unlike a lot of extensions, ST has actually studied that. It is quite reasonable that they would accommodate that, since it is a reasonable project on its own, as opposed to sending trains south of the West Seattle junction.

        You lose the possibility to go north (which would be the logical way to go with an elevated line) but as I said in my last comment, I don’t think that would be a horrible loss. My biggest concern would be whether you could pull it off. It isn’t clear exactly what Al is saying (where the turn would be, whether it would be underground, etc.).

      5. Then trains going from south to east would not stop in Ballard at all? That sounds untenable. It’s the largest destination in northwest Seattle.

      6. I’m not sure where the portal would be and lots depends on the profile coming off the bridge and the height of the bridge. The tracks would have more distance between the bridge and the Ballard Station platform so that the line could probably be both on a bridge and sunken for the station. I don’t think a mezzanine would be required and that reduces vertical requirements.

        Imagine a layout similar to Link’s Mercer Island station with a street entrance on either side of 15th and a center platform.

        It would only prevent a true north extension. An extension to the east or west (possibly turning north elsewhere) would still be possible. I could even see how a UW- Ballard line could use this as a common platform yet be built as a different streetcar-style (with exclusive lanes rather than our horrible shared-lane design for FHSC) line.

      7. [This is one of those times when I wish the site had an extra layer of nesting for the comments, so I knew what someone was referring to. Anyway, I’ll take my best shot.]


        Then trains going from south to east would not stop in Ballard at all? That sounds untenable. It’s the largest destination in northwest Seattle.

        I didn’t mean that, and I’m pretty sure Al didn’t either. No, it would be pretty simple. The Ballard-Interbay-downtown line would end at 15th. Eventually (since the tracks are facing east-west) it continues west, ending at 24th.

        The UW to Ballard line starts at 24th, serves 15th, then splits to serve Fremont and so on. The two lines share the last two stops (15th and 24th). They might even share the track. The Ballard line is supposed to run every six minutes, and the UW to Ballard line would as well. Three minute headways seems easy. That complicated things (you need a switch) but no different than what we are building for East Link. In fact it is very similar. Except instead of sharing the line from downtown to Northgate (and beyond) the line would be shared for two stops (in Ballard).

        Someone going south to east (e. g. Interbay to Fremont) would make a transfer at 15th by reversing directions and catching a different train (center platforms would be a must). A trip of this nature, while reasonable, is not likely to be that common. A trip from Fremont to downtown, for example, is likely to take place by bus, or even rounding the horn at the UW, rather than Ballard. From Westlake, you would have to skip 6 stops before getting to Fremont (and that is without a stop at 8th). Going the other way you would skip 4 stops. So not only would going via the UW be a shorter distance (because there would be less backtracking) but there would be fewer stops. If the station was actually in upper Fremont (or somehow made a good connection to Aurora) then it would be faster to take the bus.

        The only drawback to sharing the line for those two stops would be that it would be tricky to get the timing right at the UW. That would require timing two different combinations. But that is less important now, since someone from Ballard would just wait and take the train headed to downtown, instead of the train headed to the UW (as a way to get downtown). The only trip that would be awkward — that might require some waiting — would be the one to Capitol Hill. That is less than ideal, but not the end of the world. It would still be a huge improvement over today, and even an improvement over when Link gets to Ballard. Someone headed to Capitol Hill would simply take the first train that arrives, and then transfer at the U-District or Westlake.

      8. @Al — Yeah, it sounds like we are on the same page (see my last comment). Makes sense to me, and it is certainly worth exploring. Cross the canal elevated, over 14th. Then go cut and cover into 14th. Then turn on Market (also cut and cover) and continue to 15th. Add entrances on all four corners, and you are done (for now).

        Eventually the train is extended to 24th. At the same time, you finally build the UW to Ballard line. The two lines share stations at 24th and 15th. Thus you have two stations in Ballard with one seat train rides to downtown, Lower Queen Anne, Fremont and the UW. That sounds like the best idea yet — the best long term proposal for the money that is possible.

        I have a couple concerns. The first is making that turn. To make that turn I think you either have to buy up the Safeway building or the parking lot at McDonald’s. The latter would be temporary. Having the option to buy either one gives ST bargaining power, and the latter seems pretty cheap (you could just compensate that McDonald’s a few million to dig up their parking lot — likewise the empty lot to the south, if it came to that).

        I would say the greater concern is digging up Market, between 14th and 15th. That was very controversial in Vancouver, when Cambie street was dug up for the Canada Line. Locals wanted deep bore (they also opposed surface and elevated). But that was a much longer distance. While digging up 15th and Market would be a real pain, it would only be one spot. I have no idea how long the construction would last, or how traffic would be effected, but my guess is it would be fairly disruptive. Just to be clear, it sounds like the best option — way better than 14th — but it wouldn’t be a simple thing (a lot of people would object to all of the work in that area, and the traffic effects would ripple to other areas).

      9. Market during construction: Market will be easier to close than 15th. The easiest for that would be to just leave the station on 14th. I could see turning Market into a three lane roadway (one through lane in each direction and a left turn lane) on the north side and digging on the south side.

        I’m also not averse to aerial from the bridge to over 15th as long as it’s low profile (no mezzanine).

        I’m also not averse to elevating 15th between Leary and north of Market, That would open up all the cross streets in between and take traffic off of Market to make a narrower street (at three lanes) less congested. It would also allow for station at the same level as the sidewalk using the south edge of Market Street. If extended, it could transition to a median and run further west to an at-grade station at 23rd.

        The fire station would need to move. That’s a minor cost compared to Link though.

      10. Big problem with the curving interlocking a shared section from 14th to 24th would have: a level crossing for in-service trains. There are none in the current system and it looks like ST doesn’t like them for reliability reasons.

        You’d have to stack the 15th station and the curve/junction.

        That’s not a show-stopper, but it raises the costs.

      11. The more I think about it, the more I like your idea, Al. Even if it was elevated the whole way it sounds like an improvement. It gets us out of the current mess, and sets us up well for the future. That would mean an elevated station at 15th and Market and eventually another one at Leary and Market. Simply adding the station at 24th and Market would be relatively easy, and a nice standalone project. It would add immediate value, well before a Ballard to UW line could be built. But it would be a nice down payment on the Ballard to UW line. You would already have two stations in Ballard. You just need a station at 8th (which is optional as I explain later) and then go underground to serve Fremont and Wallingford along with connections to the U-District station. Building those first two stations (above ground) would save a lot of money.

        I’m not sure how exactly you would make it work, though. Here is my idea, taken from the perspective of a train headed east from Ballard towards the UW: immediately after the train turns south on 14th, it splits from the other line and goes underground. This would mean it would be underground somewhere between Leary and Market. Once it goes underground, it curves southeast, more or less following Leary (although above it). Then it would head towards the Fremont station, which would be at 36th and Fremont. At this point the train would not be that much below the surface. You would have one entrance at Fremont and 36th, and another closer to the troll. The troll entrance would connect to the existing bus stops for the 5, 26 and 28, along with a new bus stop for the E. Work would have to be done to enable a new stop on Aurora there, but I don’t think that would be that expensive, and it would be worthy in its own right (it is something that has been discussed on this block several times). You would also want to improve that walk (maybe by building new pedestrian tunnels). But that basically solves the “lower Fremont versus upper Fremont” controversy. It would be lower Fremont, but connect fairly well to the E. Surprisingly enough it isn’t that far or that steep from there to the surface (the only problem is crossing the street). It is relatively easy to reach the southbound 5 bus stop (https://goo.gl/maps/vXRdbnMXC442). Yet from 36th and Fremont you are close to the heart of things; you are within a five minute walk of most of Fremont (Nectar Lounge, Brouwer’s, Theo Chocolate, PCC, Adobe, Google, as well as all those apartment buildings close to Fremont Avenue). Even Fremont Brewing and Brooks (on the eastern outskirts of Fremont) aren’t that far of a walk using the other entrance (4 to 6 minutes).

        A station there reduces the need for a station at 8th, making the project even cheaper. If you are on the north end of the 28, and headed to Ballard, you just take the 44, which would still exist (since it covers a different area). If you are along Leary headed to Ballard, you take the 40. If you are headed to the UW (or Wallingford) then you just stay on the bus longer than you would if there was a station at 8th. Riders on the 28 are not high priority, so that is a small price to pay for saving the cost of a station. I hate to rule out a station (ideally you have more) but you would save money, and still have several good stations.

        So basically something like this: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1V7SVqymYwyy29rdVEz5Spw0XZPouoD7y&usp=sharing. I showed both entrances to the Fremont Station, but not multiple entrances to the other stations. It is a little longer, but you make up for that by skipping the station (again, not ideal, but 8th was bound to be a minor station). You keep the 44, but it isn’t as crowded as today. In general the other bus routes stay the same, and complement the train).

        Anyway, that’s just one of the ways you could build the Ballard to UW line. The main thing is, if the station at 15th and Market was heading east-west (as you proposed) it would greatly reduce the cost of building that future line.

      12. For comparison, one option still on the table today is a deep tunnel underneath the Ship Canal. An east-west tunnel for a few blocks under Market Street seems significantly less expensive – especially if there is no mezzanine. The platforms can then be positioned as needed.

        Even aerial wouldn’t be so bad. There appears to be only one apartment building on the south side of Market between 14th and 24th; it’s easier to pay out the rent than spend hundreds of millions to avoid a handful of apartments.

        At this stage, I’m wish the stakeholders would simply say “study an option of an east-west platform at Martket between 17th and west of 14th with the tracks then turning for a 14th Avenue bridge” and see what they propose and how the community reacts. The train would have on end actually stopping closer to old Ballard than anything in the table now (including the 15th Avenue station option).

        As I see how the current options are playing out, the station is going to end up at 14th and Market for cost reasons and even the 15th and Market north-south platform is still going to be inconvenient. Without a new creative option like this, that’s what is going to happen.

        Don’t forget that West Seattle interests want their tunnel and will advocate cost-cutting for every other neighborhood and station design to get it.

      13. I agree, Al, to all of your points. Whether elevated, underground (cut and over or deep bore) it makes sense to head east-west. It just gets us more flexibility, both in the short and long run. Yes, we probably lose the possibility of going north, but that was unlikely anyway.

        East-west also means you could have entrances at both 15th and 17th, especially if it is deep bore. Escalators have to angle anyway, so they may as well angle towards either end of the platform. That also sets you up very well for the future. You extend that tunnel just a little further, and add a station at around Leary and Market. You have pretty much covered all of lower Ballard, and the line can split and go towards Fremont if we ever have the money. Headways won’t be a problem (six minutes for each line). That just adds a lot of value.

        In contrast, a north-south line means that if we add a Ballard to UW line, a lot of folks are stuck taking the train one stop, then making a transfer (to get to Lower Queen Anne). To get downtown those same people are stuck making a transfer there or in the U-District unless they build a spur junction (https://www.flickr.com/photos/67869267@N07/9152772373/in/photostream/). It just isn’t as good, and it costs more money.

        In contrast, all of the ideas are either expensive, worse, or both. An underground station at 15th is no better than the representative project, but costs a lot more. A station at 14th is worse, whether it is underground or above.

        I think either cut and cover or elevated (with an east-west station at 15th and Market) is the way to go. It is still cheaper than a deep bore tunnel to 15th (by a long shot) while being as good, or better than any of the proposals. Maybe the platform straddles 15th, or maybe it is just to the west, so that again, you have entrances on the west side of 15th, and somewhere towards 17th. It gives you flexibility.

        But more than anything, it sets you up for the future. I’ll be the first to admit that an extension to 85th is a stretch. 15th is a busy street, and it is tough to take a lane, or buy up the property. It is also a ways to 85th. That means you have to go a while just to get two decent stations. In contrast, it isn’t that far — i. e. that expensive — to go west and get a great station. It could even be baked into the whole process (make the Leary station like the Graham station — let everyone know it is eventually coming). It is also possible that it would be fairly cheap, as Market is just about as wide as 15th, while not having nearly as many cars. You can take a lane and it isn’t a big deal. Much of it already has parking bulbs, which means you could just put the pillars there (not unlike the Canada Line — https://goo.gl/maps/yg5kafV9XAH2). That would be much cheaper and easier than going north, while providing a much bigger benefit. You could do that well before a Ballard to UW line, even though it sets you up for the Ballard to UW line (by providing two of the most important stations). That means that instead of building really expensive new stations, you simply reuse the other ones (the same way we are about to reuse I. D. for East Link).

        I really think this should be studied. I personally think the best bet is elevated, since it is much cheaper than tunneling, and a lot less disruptive than cut and cover. I know there would be some folks that would object to an elevated station heading towards Old Ballard (on Market) but most would be fine with that (Market itself is not that pleasant, unlike Ballard avenue). Plus this sends a signal to West Seattle (see, elevated isn’t that bad). I think this option should be on the table, as it is probably the best compromise available. If the representative project is impossible (for political reasons) then it is clearly the best option.

      14. and just because crown hill is being upzoned to be an urban village doesn’t mean that it has to get rail. Rail has already skipped some very significant areas of the city, and planning for an extension to crown hill when areas such as belltown, first hill, Fremont, etc. don’t have it seems ridiculous.

        It’s also easy to connect crown hill via bus down 15th to a ballard station, or a bus along 85th to Greenwood or Aurora to get downtown.

        So if an east west station in balard makes everything else better, (especially a line to UW!) than blindly keeping a north south station then that seems like a reasonable trade off to make.

        If nothing else ST should study it…

      15. p.s. I remember tom’s post awhile back about heading west on 52nd with a station there where it crosses 15th, and then up tallman to a station at tallman and market, I think it was. I responded as I thought it too sounded good.

      16. Al S. and RossB,

        What about the potential to extend this east/west alignment even further west to connect to a future “Golden Gardens” Sounder station?

      17. @Goonda — Seems highly unlikely. The area doesn’t even have bus service. Even Metro’s long range plan (out to 2040) doesn’t have any bus service on SeaView Ave. I wouldn’t rule out a Sounder Station though, but I think that is unlikely as well. Sounder North just seems like it will be phased out as Link gets further north. If they do add a Sounder station there, then you would just run bus service from there to Ballard, since the main value of that station would be connecting a rider to Ballard.

        The problem in general with going further west is that there is so little there. Once you get past 24th you have moderate density (duplexes and townhouses) which is OK, but you are really close to the water at that point. That means half your walkshed is gone. Even with the handful of apartments along the way you just don’t have enough there to currently warrant bus service, let alone a train.

      18. To me, this would be about adding another connection to the network, with the local walk-shed being an ancillary benefit. The success of the idea would be entirely dependent on a direct transfer to a successful Sounder station in the area. You could even take the idea a step further and add a passenger ferry terminal near the south end of the marina.

      19. I’d have to agree with Ross. As long as Sounder North is so infrequent a connection and that Snohomish Link extensions will take riders away, its future is questionable and would not be a cost-effective expense. It also would be easier and cheaper to build a stop near Smith Cove Link and Sounder is already within walking distance there.

      20. The place where I wanted them to add a joint Link/Sounder station is at Dravus or Smith Cove, but ST is seemingly uninterested in that even though there is a rail yard right there… .

        I suppose in a fantasy world you could extend the line from an east west station in ballard to the beach at Golden Gardens, and then turn into a tunnel under 85th to get to Crown Hill which then exits on the downhill slope of Holman Road headed to northgate….

      21. Snohomish’s population center is Lynnwood. Are people in Lynnwood and north Bothell supposed to go to Edmonds to take Sounder? The percent of people who live in Edmonds and Mukilteo is small, especially the number on the west side of the coastal hill. And the track can’t be widened easily because it’s sandwiched between the shore and the hill. Those are the reasons not to pour more resources into Sounder North but instead to focus on things near I-5 and 99, like Link. Sounder South is good because of Kent, Auburn, and Puyallup, which are relatively large population, centrally located, and have a full rideshed on both sides. Sounder North doesn’t have any of those. And the suggested Ballard and Golden Gardens stations don’t either. Exclamation point!

      22. I used to hear rumors of a Golden Gardens station prior to Soound Transit’s existence. As an adult, I wouldn’t support anything along that route. It isn’t because it woildn’t be nice. Sound Transit’s goals need to focus on improving what seems to work now and improve on that. 1. Light rail, 2. Sounder South 3. ST Express. In that order.

        In my personal opinion, the light rail network has to be closer to complete with good stations before even 1 penny should be spent on Sounder North. If you can’t get to Everett or Tacoma on the spine, sorry, no money for Sounder North. I lived in Ballard for 22 years and still wish to improve it, but improve it with a better Ballard light rail line. It will pay off by at least 10x the ridership.

        Although I do not agree with some of you where physical boundries of Ballard end, I think I do agree that the station that will be the best for our current situation is 15th NW. If you want a frequent line to Golden Gardens bring back the 46. That is where it used to go. All day long.

        What we need is to force ST execs to walk around the routes they suggest. IN THE RAIN. Next time there is an interview, do the entire thing on public transportation.

        1st question. “What do you think of the future light rail alignment in West Seattle?” After question 1. “Let’s get on the bus and head out to Market street and 15th”. 1.5 hours later. “What do youn think about the future Ballard light rail sration? Wait. Wait. We have to walk to 14th before I can have your answer.” After the answer convinces me this is the best location, I will give them my umbrella and we can walk back to 15th. “From here we will head to 146th and I-5 for question 3.” And so on. Dare Rogoff to do it. He won’t.

        They also need to work better with Metro the TRUE bus provider. They make it sound like dealing with Metro is a hindrence. There ridership is only 3x times ST’s. Light rail without Metro busses doesn’t work. When a ST to KCM transfers aren’t smooth both agencies should be held accountable.

        There is nothing in it for them to better our region when they don’t need to use it. That is part of our problem. Over paid, out of touch, politically motivated, puppets who may be living in suburban mansions with huge SUV’s probably run Sound Transit.

    5. 1) I don’t know how an elevated station over 15th would necessitate a mezzanine. All future stations will use center platforms, now that ST learned what a serious mistake side platforms were at Mt Baker and TIBS. Escalators don’t have to run exactly perpendicular to or parallel to the tracks.

      If width is any issue, the center platform can be wide.

      If the street below has to be narrowed to make room for wider sidewalks and station elements, Hallelujah!

      If the freight activists complain, let freight share access to the bus lane.

      Another option is stacked platforms, with the Spanish solution on both levels, so the tracks could both stay east of 15th, but two platforms or at least platform-level walkways could extend over 15th.

    6. 2) Having the D Line already mostly full as passengers get off the train to catch it would be a wonderful problem to have. Solution? Have an extra D-Line bus waiting nearby to handle overflow.

      1. Uh Tom, I don’t understand why a mezzanine is mandatory for ADA. ST is building many stations without mezzanines. Mt Baker doesn’t have one. East Main, Spring District, Mercer Island, 145th, and 185th won’t have one either.

        The only access reason for a mezzanine is if the platform location precludes getting to the street sidewalk. Historically, they were used for station agents and turnstiles, but ST doesn’t have those.

        As long as an entrance is on the south side of Market Street and Market Street is narrowed to three lanes, the entrances can be off the Market Street south sidewalk directly below the platform. Escalators, stairs and ADA elevators can go up to the rail platform as long as its wide enough. Elevators can be at the ends of the platforms if necessary. The outbound tracks can overhang Market Street to provide room for a platform.

        I’m not sure what the optimum Ballard/UW routing would be, but running east on Market looks rather residential. It would seem best to have the line at at least 45th if not further south. That could be nicely accommodated as the tracks to Downtown would have to rise, so a switch to route train heading south to run under the bridge near Leary and 14th to eventually turn east seems quite reasonable.

        I’m not sure of the best layout for operating two lines. But that’s speculating on top of speculating.

        The question at this stage is where to best put a platform for Ballard Station. Right now, even a simple east-west platform option is a mere suggestion here but not in any studied alternatives. Even if everyone on STB thought it was a great idea, getting it to even a conceptual design is an uphill political struggle for STB. Only if stakeholders pushed for it would it get added.

        Frankly, the seeming disinterest in rail-rail transfers is my biggest concern because more riders will likely transfer than will enter or leave an individual station. Of course, no member of the public knows what stttion activity is expected. ST won’t report that.

      2. You named the reason that a mezzanine is necessary for a center-platform station over an active street: a center platform without a mezzanine would have elevators which would land in the middle of the street!

        As I clarified above with Ross, if you put the guideway to the side of the street, no, you don’t need a mezzanine. But if you run the line down the middle of the street, you do if you want center platforms with elevators for ADA compliance. Heck, if you have a middle-of-the-street center platform, you need a mezzanine to accommodate stairs and escalators, too. They can’t land in the middle of the street the line is following either.

        It sounds to me that your curve to Market subway would avoid the problem of access to both sides of 15th very nicely by using side platforms straddling that street with an entrance at each end. It would require crossing Market once every round trip for walk-up passengers, but bus transfers would mostly be “in-direction”

        However, ST won’t go for it because it would require a level interlocking to interline the two stations with a Ballard-UW line at the curve.

        Of course the curve and the 15th station could be stacked, but that’s a lot deeper level to attain from a 14th bridge crossing.

      3. It sounds to me that your curve to Market subway would avoid the problem of access to both sides of 15th very nicely by using side platforms straddling that street with an entrance at each end.

        Yeah, exactly. It just seems like a logical way to go.

        However, ST won’t go for it because it would require a level interlocking to interline the two stations with a Ballard-UW line at the curve.

        Hard to imagine ST is thinking that far ahead. I haven’t read anything, anywhere, where they said “put this here or add that, so that we can eventually run a different line there”. It would have made sense for the U-District, for example, but they never did it.

        I also think that the separation would occur after the curve. Yeah, it does add cost to do everything later. But it is nothing like when you retrofit underground. As it is, we are doing that right now, as we speak. We are building a split underground, just south of I. D. that was never imagined (or planned for) when they built the bus tunnel, or laid track inside it. Yet the fact that it cost a bit more isn’t going to stop us from building East Link. Besides, I think it would still be a lot cheaper than if we built a north-south station (at 14th and 15th) and then added a new underground station at Leary, along with a new underground station at 14th and 15th (along with an awkward transfer). That was basically the plan (and pretty much still is) but it makes way more sense to go with Al’s idea (and just run elevated to Ballard).

      4. I wouldn’t call a narrow walkway a mezzanine. All you need is a walkway from the platforms to the top of the escalators/elevators.

    7. Just for the record I suggested a week ago on a different article that it makes sense to do as Glenn suggests, swinging the supports for a 14th Avenue bridge into Leary and running ACROSS fifteenth to somewhere along Market west of 15th. Whether that’s best at 17th, 20th or all the way out to Leary at 22nd is open for discussion, certainly. I think 17th would be best.

      But let’s be very clear: this can ONLY be done as a tunnel or a dead end station. There’s no way north for an elevated railway.

      I understand that most folks don’t read my posts carefully. Al does the best job, but the test of you just throw them in the “fool” trash and “reply” to your stereotype.

      All I said in this post is that 15th and Market is a terrible place for a bus intercept and told you why I think so.

      I didn’t day that people would have to wait “thirty minutes”; I said a significant number of people transferring to the northbound D in the afternoon peak are going to wait for a second bus and a few for a third. That will happen at 14th, 15th, 17th, or third, wherever the station is placed.

      Fifteenth is by far the least pleasant place of the four for it to happen.

      Brent replied with a proposal that “second sections” (with flags?) be run when overflow happens. I’m sure that would be popular with Metro planners.

      And Brent, it doesn’t matter if you have a center platform of side platforms, to have grade-separated access to both sides of the street the tracks follow, you need one of three layouts: a mezzanine, a stub-end station with a walkway around the end or pedestrian crossings of at least one track. Apparently ST has such a crossing planned at Judson Park, but that is a minor station compared to Ballard. I’ll be surprised to see such a design there.

      Finally and not to put too fine a point on it, but where are the elevators to ground level going to be in a center platform station without a mezzanine placed over the middle of an arterial going to open at the surface?

      You MUST have a mezzanine for such a station to meet ADA requirements. Judkins Park does so by having a half mezzanine at the 23rd Avenue end.

      Laugh all you want, there are SERIOUS design issues an elevated station at 15th and Market that meets everyone’s stated “must have” of no-crossing access to and from both sides of 15th.

      Plus, the neighbors will hate it.

      1. I doubt the neighbors will hate it. The neighbors will use it. They will be delighted not to have to cross 15th, or Market, to use it.

        One’s lack of imagination does not force a mezzanine. I offered stacked tracks as a way to allow platforms on both sides, and the ability to have vertical conveyances directly between the platform and the sidewalk. That’s not exactly the Spanish solution, but it is a useful variation on the theme, and one that keeps the option open of both a Ballard-UW branch and a northern extension.

        Indeed, the mezzanines designed so far have run into ADA troubles for lack of redundant vertical conveyances. But I believe ST won’t repeat that elementary blunder. At any rate, I’m not opposed to a mezzanine. I’m skeptical that the mezzanine will serve more purpose than a place to put ORCA vending machines, adding opportunities for vertical conveyance failure, inserting an unnecessary transfer between elevators, and adding a floor where passengers can stare through the windows of adjoining apartment buildings, if you really think that is a problem.

        As for the D Line, I’m quite convinced Metro planners would rather have short-run D runs to/from Ballard Station if ridership justifies it (and that is not a sure thing), rather than twice as many runs all the way to/from downtown, with buses alternating between crushloaded leaving Ballard Station and half-empty, and making riders wait five minutes if they didn’t fit on the first. Scoff at my ability to do planning math, but you’re not talking to rank amateurs here.

      2. I agree that putting the alignment alongside the street obviates the need for mezzanines, whether the tracks are stacked or not. However, since there are LARGE new apartment buildings which reach the sidewalk on both sides of 15th on the north side of Market, no alignment alongside 15th, either to the eat or west of the street can both have a station at Market and be extended in any direction. That’s simple geometry.

        A station on either side of 15th entirely south if 54th probably could support an extension to the north by wiggling to the middle of 15th between 54th and Market. But it makes bus transfers on Market a bit more challenging.

        So, if you want no possible extension north, do the station on 17th and be closer to Old Ballard. It’s possible to swing over to 17th using elevated structure above Leary from either a 14th or 15th crossing.

      3. For what it is worth, I read your arguments carefully, I just think they are weak. Sorry, but it is relatively simple:

        1) If you are running north-south, then you put the station to the west side of 15th. Yes, that means that if you live on the other side of the street, you have to press a button and walk, just like you do if you live here: https://goo.gl/maps/ZGZT3mKEAuH2, and want to get to the train station here: https://goo.gl/maps/g34hBTddvzE2. Heck, in that case you have to make two crossings. Not ideal, obviously, but still not as bad as having to cross the street *and* walk an extra two and a half blocks to 14th. The good thing is, most of the people live *west* of 15th, which means that only a small minority of the people live to the east, and are inconvenienced by the crossing. As with that example in Vancouver, what little density there is on the other side of the street is very close to the crossing, which means that folks there will still do it. This makes it different than the other side, where density actually increases the farther away you get from the station.

        2) Yes, we understand that waiting for a bus at 15th is unpleasant. But most people will not wait long. A bus headed up 15th (a bus replacing the D and 15) would end there, or very close to there. If you find that the regular bus fills up, you just add another one, and park it right there. It doesn’t really matter if you catch the “third bus”, if it turns out you only waited a couple minutes. It is likely Metro will do this sort of thing with lots of our stations, the only difference is that many will be transit centers. We don’t need transit centers, when you are only talking about one bus line — just park a few extra buses on 15th.

        But you are right, a wait there — of any length — will not be as pleasant as any of the other streets. But that isn’t the most important consideration. There are plenty of riders who live in between Aurora and Greenwood/Phinney. Way more prefer riding the E, despite the fact that it is one of the nastiest roads in town. Plenty of people take a bus that runs down Lake City/Bothell Way. Sure, it would be nice if they had a nicer place to wait, but not at the expense of spending extra time on the bus. Imagine there are two entrances, one at 15th and one at 14th (serving a really long train) and the bus served both (taking a turn to serve 14th). The vast majority of riders would use 15th *both directions* rather than wait another stop.

        3) But let’s be very clear: [running on Leary and building a station at Leary, 20th or 17th] can ONLY be done as a tunnel or a dead end station. There’s no way north for an elevated railway.

        That doesn’t bother me at all. Chances are this won’t go north, regardless of where the station is. The only flaw with taking that route is that you don’t have a stop at 15th. In other words, you only have one stop in Ballard, instead of two. If you did what Al suggested (go east-west on Market) then you build the station right where you said you were going to build it (on 15th) while making it pretty darn easy to build another station to the west (my choice would be Leary). That would pretty much cover it — “it” being the cultural, population and employment centers in Ballard. Just to be clear, your idea (or is it Glenn’s) of running up Leary is still better than the alternatives. It is better than 15th and way better than 14th. It should be studied, but I think the ideal plan is Al’s (making the 90 degree turn, straddling 15th, and ending there for now, but eventually going west).

    8. OK, another thought. This happens to apply to both ideas (running a train east-west along Market, or a train on Leary). In both cases, the train could eventually end up on the surface, in effect kneeling to the station. While surface running is not ideal, a surface station is. A surface station (that doesn’t involve the train crossing any street) is wonderful for riders. Streetcars may not make sense when it comes to getting from place to place, but they are great to actually board. From my estimation, there is definitely enough room for a station, and there would be enough room to drop elevation — at worse there would be a “low clearance” crossing on a relatively minor street (20th).

      In the case of a Leary light rail line, you could end on Leary, just short of Market. Crossing Market there is easy, safe and relatively pleasant, about as nice as any spot on Market (https://goo.gl/maps/K84QmMKowTo). Either side of the street would work. In both cases you have to deal with parking lots that become less useful. On the northeast side you render an entrance to a small lot useless(https://goo.gl/maps/hZrzg9RhAwv), but you could still get there via the other side (on Russel, next to the old Firehouse). For the other side of the street the small lot becomes useless, and you just have to buy it out (https://goo.gl/maps/g8ALzgVqfoz). That’s it, though.

      For Market it looks even better. A train could end in the same area, between 20th and 22nd. On the north side of the street there are no entrances whatsoever. On the south side, this would make Russell a dead end, which is not a bad idea in the grand scheme of things.

      Building stations like these would be nicer for the user, nicer from an aesthetic standpoint, and probably cheaper. In both cases I would assume that you would have a single track on the surface, and double track a little bit farther away. In both cases the elevated line would take a lane in Old Ballard, but in both cases, the space is there. Both Leary and Market are wide, and this would only require taking some parking. In both cases I wouldn’t imagine much opposition to an elevated line on aesthetic grounds. Leary is only attractive when it nears Market, while Market is only attractive as it gets away from 15th.

      In the case of the Market east-west alignment, I would add the 20th/22nd station now, and leave the elevated 15th station as one to build to build later if we find some money or eventually fund it (similar to the provisional station at Airport Road and SR 99 in Everett). I think it is quite possible that the cost of a good station at 15th is more expensive than a surface station at 22nd. Both would make sense in the long run, but for now, a station between 20th and 22nd would be better. It would be closer to the cultural, employment and population center of Ballard, while still providing for very good coverage later (with a station at 15th). If it turns out the economics are reversed, and building a station at 15th is cheaper, so be it. Either way it is a better outcome than any of the proposals, including the representative project (which would have one station at 15th and Market, with the train going north-south).

      Likewise, one single station on Leary, just short of Market, is still just a little bit better than the representative project, while being a lot better than a station at 14th. Having all of these options (either side of the street, two pathways, three possible stations) will, ultimately lower the cost. It is likely that no matter what we build, we are going to have to buy up some property (here or there). Having flexibility in that regard gives us bargaining power.

      In short, if the city really wants to cross the canal at 14th, let’s at least go to the heart of Ballard, where we get something out of it.

      1. Also worth noting is that this same approach gets us out of the West Seattle Junction mess. Just follow Genesee — as all the new proposals do — turn the corner, and then kneel. Turning the corner probably means you buy out the single story building where there apparently is a dental practice (https://goo.gl/maps/5zrrVNXC4tA2). Heck, you might not even need to do that, since the building is so low you could just go over it (just buy out the air space). Then you are heading down California, right after Oregon you immediately go lower, and get down to the surface, resembling the very vehicle the area is named after. At worse Oregon is no longer a truck route — that doesn’t bother me in the least. As with Market, all you take is parking and there are on intersections to worry about. It serves the heart of the area in a very aesthetically pleasing and affordable manner.

        Just to be clear, in all of these cases, the surface section is “boxed in”, thus preventing some idiot from thinking they can use that lane. A little thin cement ought to do the job.

      2. A few thoughts:

        1. Why did the ST3 proposal have three stations in West Seattle, but only one in Ballard? The current study would have been very different if 2 and 2 were promised.

        2. As much as it’s great to serve historic Ballard, the single station’s intent is also to serve everywhere within a half-mile of the platform as well as buses coming from all directions. That’s because only one station was defined in ST3.

        3. Is it possible for ST to add an allowance for an additional Ballard station into its work? Getting any east-west platform is a struggle without support. At least a single east-west platform is an option that would be “consistent with ST3”.

        4. If you look at a similar surface median design at Othello, it’s far from ideal. The platform feels fenced off from the community. Pedestrian and cars get hit by trains. There are other places that have these but four-car platforms make it much more unfriendly to a neighborhood.

        5. I do generally like surface street stations for local access. Still I’m not sure if that’s the right answer here. It may be best to simply ask for three sub-options for a Ballard Station platform (surface, aerial, cut and cover tunnel) that ideally has exits on both sides of 15th.

        6. With emerging driverless systems and surface safety concerns including service disruptions, I think ST prefers complete grade separation at this point. Surface tracks are contrary to that.

        It really makes me happy to read that I’ve inspired you to aggressively think outside of the box about Ballard. We don’t always agree, but at least I think we care more about riders and can dream a bit more daring than many engaged in this process.

      3. You’ve put a lot of thought into expanding on Al’s idea.

        The scary thing is that this blog, in a couple of days of brainstorming, has come up with something that I think is better than anything Sound Transit, and the various community/stakeholder groups has come up with in a year.

        Is ST suffering from north/south station orientation myopia?

        Build this!

        Crown Hill folks can take a bus to the station.

      4. @jas — I was thinking the same thing. It really is messed up. A bunch of folks on this blog shouldn’t be able to come up with something that is clearly better than what ST has, but we did. Which isn’t to say that we have all the answers, but at least we are asking the right questions. There are a lot of options here — options that I’m sure have different costs — and yet every one is better than what ST and the stakeholders have proposed.

        The sad part is that it is nothing new. ST never gave much thought to a station at NE 130th, it took a bunch of community activists to make it happen. There are plenty of other examples as well. I really think the folks in charge don’t know what they are doing, and that is very disturbing, and not something I would say lightly.

      5. I don’t think that the fundamental values changes with ST3 are fully understood by those in power. The prior ballot measures were much more performance and travel pattern based; proponents were more concerned about countering anti-transit-Investment people. ST3 was much more playing political Santa Claus for the corridors that were not good enough for ST2 construction funding so they got merely studied in ST2.

        In that environment, choices are less governed by analysis and instead governed by non-transit concerns. That was unfortunately reinforced by the subsequent “stakeholder” and “elected official” committee process with little concern for rider environment or effectiveness data as essential discussion elements — even to the extent of proposing and eliminating options without first seeing basic data.

        A basic example here: How long will it take to walk to a Link platform from Leary and Market, or California and Alaska including delays waiting to cross intersections? How long will it take riders to change trains at IDS, Westlake or SODO? How many riders are we talking about?

        The public process has been done blindly — ignoring providing almost any data except fuzzy capital costs. Without data, debates become about aesthetics and protectionism of non-transit interests. That’s a big reason why these workshops and meetings are so limiting .

        I even wonder if the data is so revealing that ST hides it from the discussion to protect itself from showing how little value some of the options are. Someone in power needs to make a stink about this.

      6. I agree Al. I think the basic problem is that ST2, for the most part, was easy. Oh, there were mistakes here and there, but the basic idea was easy. Run a line north towards Lynnwood and south towards Federal Way. Send another line out towards Bellevue. You really can’t mess that up too much.

        ST3 was much harder. Does it really make sense to complete the spine, if you have already gone well outside the urban core? Does Ballard to UW sound better than Ballard via Interbay? For that matter, is there something else we should do in Seattle? What should we do on the East Side, after extending East Link to Redmond?

        None of these are as obvious as what exists in ST2. Which is not to say that they did all of the obvious things (in my opinion, a station at 130th is obvious, but somehow Sound Transit missed it). The point is, even when you sketch out the big projects in ST3, it isn’t obvious, which means you need more than just little tweaks here and there based on public input. You need real studies, that involve communicating with Metro (and other bus agencies) as well as city planners. They didn’t do that, and continue to not do that, and it is likely we will end up with something that is a terrible value. It will add value, to be sure, it just won’t be nearly as good as if we had spent the money wisely.

    9. @Al — Responding to your points, one by one:

      1. Agreed. I think the assumption was that the train was going to go up 15th and end next to Market, which appeared to be the cheapest option. In other words, everything else (i. e. going to the heart of Ballard) would be too expensive. At first glance, going to 14th and swinging around seems more expensive (it probably is) but if 15th is simply impossible (for political reasons) then swinging around and going east-west is the best option.

      2. Yes. That is the flaw with one station — you can only serve a small area. I guess I always assumed that this station would be at 15th and Market, while a future station would be to the west (Leary, or maybe 24th) as part of a Ballard to UW line. This first station would not be ideal, but it wouldn’t be horrible (especially if it was on the west side of the street). The idea being this one is cheap, while we wait for the better station to the west, as part of the UW to Ballard line. But ideally the first station we build is the best station, the one to the west. That is where more people live, work, and visit. Run a train on Leary, end there, and you still have a better station than *any* proposed by ST. It works better for buses, and you are simply closer to more people and destinations.

      3. I have no idea. But ST is busy trying to point the West Seattle lines north-south, so that they can extend towards Burien. This was never part of the ST3 planning, but they just think it makes sense, for the future. The same would be the case here. Build a station (at 15th, or at Leary) and then make it possible to add the other station for only a little bit more. Maybe Seattle itself comes up with the money five years from now. Or maybe ST raises enough money within the subarea to pay for it. Or maybe it is part of ST4. No matter what, it wouldn’t be that expensive.

      4. It would be different than Othello (or any other surface platform we have). I can’t point to any examples around the world, but I would imagine there are some. Othello is different in two ways. At Othello (and all the Rainier Valley stops) the trains run in the middle of the street. They require a platform, to get to the train. This would be a single track on the side of the street. The only area that would be blocked would be *the other side*, the side next to the cars. It would be blocked to prevent cars from running into the train (they would have to hop a curb/wall). It would be similar to where this person is sitting — https://goo.gl/maps/Duok8cdBCb92 — except that instead of a bench, there would be the backside of the train (the side where the doors don’t open). The other side of the train would be flush with the street, like with a streetcar, or some surface running light rail (https://goo.gl/maps/MmM5XfUpaVM2). It would take up a little bit more than one lane, but in that area, you can spare two (since there is parking on both sides of both Leary and Market).

      The other big difference is that the train goes over every intersection. Yes, cars run into the train now, but to the best of my knowledge, all the accidents have occurred at intersections (no one has jumped the curb). In this case, it would be impossible to hit the train at the intersection (the train would be above ground at the intersection). It would be, for all intents and purposes, grade separated.

      5. My point is that it should be considered. I have no problem with elevated transit, or cut and cover. All should be considered. But ending on the surface has its advantages (including cost and aesthetics) and that might tip the balance. Regardless, the key thing is to look at going east-west. Just to be clear, this would not be surface at 15th — I don’t think that would work. I think surface would only work for the two spots I mentioned (close to Leary).

      6. See my previous point. This would be, for all intents and purposes, grade separated. You would never have to wait for a car, or a traffic light. It would be extremely difficult to cause a collision (it could happen, but the train itself would be the least of our worries).

    1. I’m guessing that even if someone builds a second house on the property and a basement apartment it will still be classified as a single family dwelling. Which highlights how this legislative shenanigans is an end run around the zoning laws. But I wonder if Seattle isn’t also shooting it’s self in the foot in that respect with regard to tax revenue. Add to that many people will rent these units without declaring it as such thereby bypassing the onerous laws (damage deposit limits, notifications, tenant selection, etc.) which legitimate landlords and apartment building owners are subject too.

      It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the 2019 city council elections.

      1. You do know that while houses are a supermajority of the structures, renters are a majority of the voters. We thought gerrymandering might protect the homeowners, but that is not how the first two elections under districting worked out. In a few years, the renter-dominated districts will shrink on the map, and the home-dominated districts will bring in more apartments. And we’ll still have democracy vouchers, much to the consternation of the Chamber.

        This time around, though, instead of having housing advocates and renters’ rights advocates running against each other and trying to undermine each others’ goals, we have some housing advocates who are also renters’ rights advocates.

      2. “You do know that while houses are a supermajority of the structures, renters are a majority of the voters.”

        Do you have a source to cite for this? Something that quantifies registered and actual voters by home ownership status.


      3. My understanding is that it is about 50/50 in Seattle, in terms of overall residents, but that adults in apartments just recently passed adults in houses. I don’t know how that matched up with voter registration (or any of that).

        The point that a lot of people make, though is our political leaders seem to assume that the vast majority of voters live in their own home, and that the vast majority of those voters don’t want to see the zoning laws change. This would make sense if you attend the public meetings, but it isn’t consistent with any election. Whenever someone has run under that sort of platform, they get crushed. That suggests that renters (and people who sympathize with them) are really the majority in this city, but that the elected officials are slow to realize this. This has happened a lot in the past, a recent example is cannabis laws, where the country is well ahead of politicians.

        By the way, the other day I heard someone make this same argument — that zoning changes are more popular than the politicians realize. I don’t know who it was (I tuned in late and then never heard the end).

      4. @RossB Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I understood the larger point being made but was just trying to nail down Brent’s assertion as I’ve never seen any data that supports this claim. That’s not to say that it doesn’t exist; I simply have never seen it to date.

        The data that is out there does seem to indicate that renter turnout lags behind homeowner turnout in general. Thus the renter constituency would have to counteract that lower participation rate by having a much larger share to begin with. Again, I just have never seen any data to show that is indeed the case.

    2. “What percent of residential properties in Seattle are not Single Family houses?”

      100 – 69 = 31. Note that the question was “properties”; i.e., lots. If you ask, “How many Seattle residents live in single-family houses?”, you get very different answer. I read it went just below 50% this year or last year.

      “But I wonder if Seattle isn’t also shooting it’s self in the foot in that respect with regard to tax revenue.”

      The highest priority is to add more units to address the housing shortage. Tax evasion in housing is no different than other tax evasion: you can’t eliminate it completely, and it’s not a reason to not do something. Lots with ADUs will continue to be called single-family unless the entire single-family zone is renamed. As for those onerous laws, what kind of city would we have if owners were allowed to discriminate, require high-income tenants, raise the rent or turn people out without any notice. It would be a city where a lot more more minorities and working-class people couldn’t find a place to live anywhere.

      1. Lots with ADUs will continue to be called single-family unless the entire single-family zone is renamed.

        That’s the point. Property tax assessments are much higher when zoned multifamily. By skirting the zoning laws the city is screwing it’s self out of that revenue while simultaneously accepting the increased demand on infrastructure. They’re also not able to leverage legitimate up-zones with things like sidewalk improvements.

      2. If you know of holes in the code that allow new structures to be built without sidewalks, I’d love to see it.

      3. Brent, see Chapter 23.53.006 of the land use code.

        F. Exceptions. The following exceptions to pedestrian access and circulation requirements and standards apply:
        e. Construction of a single-family dwelling unit on a lot in any zone, if the property owner enters into a no-protest agreement, as authorized by chapter 35.43 RCW, to future pedestrian access and circulation improvements and that agreement is recorded with the King County Recorder, and if at least one of the following conditions is met:
        1) The lot is on a block front where there are no existing pedestrian access and circulation improvements within 100 feet of the lot; or
        2) Construction of pedestrian access and circulation improvements is not necessary because, for example, the existing right-of-way has suitable width and surface treatment for pedestrian use; or the existing right-of-way has a limited amount of existing and potential vehicular traffic; or the Director anticipates limited, if any, additional development near the lot because the development near the lot is at or near zoned capacity under current zoning designations;

    3. Notice as the percentage of single family homes in a city goes down, it doesn’t automatically make the city affordable.

    4. But it’s the most likely thing to do so. Housing prices are based on the amount of supply relative to demand, and the square footage you’re getting. If a significant number of single-family houses are replaced by more units and smaller units, it would lessen the pressure that’s keeping prices up. The prices would have to drop a lot to become affordable, and first you have to define affordable. Do you mean affordable to people making $30,000, or affordable to people making $65,000? There’s a shortage of both. But the first step in rolling back prices is to stop them from increasing, or at least slowing the increase down. You can’t just do nothing because you can’t roll back rents to $700 and houses to $200K immediately.

      1. The last time housing prices were rolled back became known as the great recession. Lots of cheap housing in Detroit but I think a better way to make housing affordable is to increase peoples disposable income. Increased government regulation and spending (i.e. higher taxes) does just the opposite. Of course the government gets bigger and those dependent on government may benefit. But that’s not the vast majority of people just trying to earn a living and get ahead.

      2. I have no expectation that prices will roll back to pre-2003 levels. That means we’ll have to do something else in addition to bridge the gap between a 2003 affordability baseline and current prices, because most Americans’ purchasing power since then has decreased, not increased. There are several things we might do but I won’t get into that now.

        My main point is that we shouldn’t have allowed prices to escalate in the first place, because prices go quickly up but are sticky on the way down, because nobody wants to take a loss. So it will be a significant milestone just to stop the increases. That requires understanding why the increases occurred. They occurred because we did not allow the housing supply to increase to match the rising population. In cities that do allow the housing supply to increase as needed, like Chicago, Houston, and Dallas, prices stayed the same relative to income. Chicago does it with infill develpoment, the other two do it mostly with outward sprawl, but the result is the same.

        Chicago’s North Side is mostly 3-10 story buildings, with a few scattered single-family houses. That’s what I’d recommend for a large urban district, from the Ship Canal to 65th, 32nd NW to 15th NE, or thereabouts, and a few similar districts in other parts of Seattle. No need to force single-family homowners to densify; just allow it, and some will and some won’t. So that’s one model. Any model that expands the urban villages and relaxes single-family restrictions to some extent, will start to equalize the differences between the few high-demand blocks and others, and give people more choices at more price points. Especially if we allow not just ADUs and triplexes, but all of the “missing middle” (i.e., small 4-8 unit apartments in single-family areas). The Seattle proposal doesn’t go that far but that would be the logical next step.

        So what would happen to prices? They would level off, and over the long term they might slightly dip. That doesn’t solve the gap between 2003 affordability and current prices, but it would be a major step in the right direction and bring stability. Then we could decide what to do in addition to bridge the gap.

      3. Pigeonhole principle: If the amount of housing does not increase, the number of people that can afford housing cannot increase either.

        The past decade has shown what happens when disposable incomes increase, but the housing supply does not increase with it – instead of more people being able to afford homes, you just have the same homes bid up to higher prices, and individuals whose disposable income did not increase (while the income of the population as a whole, did) get left out.

      4. when disposable incomes increase, but the housing supply does not increase with it

        Well, the housing supply in Seattle, King County and Snohomish County has increased significantly and we’re still in the mist of a building boom. Another classic build, kaBOOM, crash. But even if total units remain constant rising incomes tend to favor ownership over renting. Of course this is tempered by the cost to rent vs own and an increase in home ownership drives up rents (less supply). That in turn drives more renters to become owners. The people with no skin in the game (renters) are the odd man out.

    5. How’s this for an analogy, Sam. A factory discharges toxic waste to a river every day, making the salmon sick and killing some of them. You want to make the river clean and the salmon healthy. Your first thought is to demand the factory stop polluting. But your marine biologist says that even if you do that, it will take ten years for the toxins in the river to disappear, and another ten years to reverse the damage to the fish, and the government will have to spend money treating the water to get the fish run back to pre-factory size and health. You decide that even if you can’t get the fish back to full health immediately and at zero cost, it’s still worth it to make the factory stop polluting to incrementally improve the situation.

      In case you need a key to understand this, the fish are residents. The toxic waste is the amount that prices increase over inflation. Clean water is returning to a rate matching inflation. Water treatment is the non-market interventions the government provides to bridge the remaining gap between pre-factory prices and 100% housing affordability.

    6. My 2003 threshold is arbitrary, but it’s approximately when rents/prices started escalating. Before then it was easy for an entry-level worker to find a place they could afford, and somebody with a few years more experience could easily rent a 1BR apartment or maybe buy a house or condo. Low-income people still had difficulties, but at least the workforce didn’t have to struggle. So that’s a reasonable baseline, in the same sense that the Paris Climate accord set the carbon baseline at pre-industrial level and defined an acceptable increase as 2 degrees Celsius above that. So 2003 (adjusted for inflation) is our baseline, and the acceptable limit is subject to debate. If we simply stop the increases, then that’s the same as declaring the current level as the acceptable limit.

      1. “My 2003 threshold is arbitrary, but it’s approximately when rents/prices started escalating.”

        I think using 2003 is a fair presumptive assertion. Anecdotally it fits with my own experience as this was the year I went from a long-term renter living in Wallingford to a homeowner in SW SnoCo. More importantly however, this starting point seems to be supported by looking at the data from the Case-Shiller Home Price Index for Seattle for the last 15 years.

        Check it out here:

  2. Tom, it could be that if they’ve thought about it at all, many people reject an elevated station outright. But here’s an approach I think you’ll find with systems both overseas and in older US cities.

    Make every station joint-multiple-use . Like Everett station should re-open, a college campus. A library branch. Gotta be a gym. A bike and scooter factory- few miles from Olympia, beautiful new cafe is also a bike shop, sales and repair. “Baby Boomer” well-deserved poke at people three years younger than me.

    Main downside in elevated Ballard – exhaust blast as rents and leases clear the tower. And as Ballard goes from Affordable to Historic, the crossed arterials can become miles-long maybe roofed-over linear neighborhoods. Corridors really work better than subareas.

    Nobody will keep calling it a sewer when today’s GP lanes are lane-reserved and signal pre-empted for joint street car-electric bus ops. Except for streetcar haters.The Sax Comeback of the 2060’s will put cold water walk-ups with window-sill seats a few feet from the wheels in same United Chicago Emirates bracket.

    And! And! And!…OK Ballard-firsters, start giggling maniacally…this will really prove to the world who in West Seattle really wants an elevated station, and who thinks even a bus Transit Center belongs with Water Quality.

    Like the song goes, “Take The A-line” to the Junction tomorrow, start spreading the rumor it’s going to happen, and see what immediately does. Quick, while Harborview still has the chopper pad.


    1. Major hubs should be joint-use or have nearby land available for public uses, but having them in every station would be a bit of a waste. Small library kiosks with holds and popular titles would be great at stations, but something fully-staffed would be stretching already thin resources.

    2. Libraries are just the kind of things that should be near stations. They attract a large cross-section of people with different interests. They’re a regular errand for many people, and essential for some needs. But the don’t have to be “at” a station, just a short walking distance. And they don’t have to be at every station, because the purpose of Link is to make it easy to go to other stations for your various needs. Ideally the main library would have a station or entrance, as Chicago does in the Loop, or as Pentagon City does for the shopping mall complex. That has always been one of the problems with the lack of a Madison station in the DSTT: the nearest station is not only on 3rd, but it’s two blocks north and on the other side of 3rd. The Beacon Hill library is good, although it could be a bit closer. Small station libraries to wait in for your connecting bus would be nice but not essential. The essential thing is that a few libraries are within walking distance of a station.

      1. The Northgate Library works well, in my opinion, for transit riders. It is not technically next to the future light rail station. But you can take the 41, 67, 75, 345, 347, or 348 from the transit center to get there. One of them leaves about every 2 minutes on a week day. Or just walk 5 blocks.

    1. Thank you for the article, Jeff. Because I’ve just found some family history showing me an age-old pattern as dangerous to our country as it may be short-term good for transit. Only question, how short.

      Through all Europe’s history, the richer and more powerful you were, the deeper inside your city walls you lived. If you wanted to live.

      Pretty much same for us….until the end of World War II and the ’29 Depression. Which thousands of young people could suddenly celebrate by buying a car. With a giant billiard table of a country full of For-Sale and Now Hiring signs to drive it through.

      A well-earned Wonderful Life – if we weren’t still held to the laws of one State or another barely free” and in name only. That encouraged the habit of handling civic problems with a lead foot on the accelerator. Trouble? Outrun it. As far as we could, as often as necessary.

      But now, seventy years after the War…we’ve joined Europe in the opposite means of segregation, that’s much more dangerous. “Banlieu” means “Ghetto”, except outside the wall and a lot worse mark to carry. Breeding disaffection that might justify some fears for “National Security”. And this is the track down which we’re headed. I drive through one every day.



      Being transitworkers, this one’s not a shrug of abstraction for us. We have to concentrate of getting hold of what’s already sprawled and DE-Sprawl it. Eastern Pierce County looks like good first project. Are we at least at point on the next ST- where we can make this part of the planning? Is anybody in our regional transit system even thinking about this at all?

      Mark Dublin

  3. One thing that makes me disturbed about the ADU proposal is the continued subordination of the additional unit. Proposing to encourage “basement units” and “backyard units” but not an equivalent-sized second unit — say a stacked flat or a true two-unit structure with each unit about the same size — implies a different reality. I actually think that two-unit layouts could be a better fit for many blocks and be less controversial depending on parking issues. Since we have plenty of small apartments anyway, having two and three bedroom second units with yard access would also seem to complement the market demand.

    Don’t get me wrong: any additional units are still a good thing — and corrects our de facto code biases created after segregation zoning was ruled unconstitutional in the 1920’s.

  4. Does anyone know if the connection of East Link to the existing tracks will result in the elimination of the jog that the tracks make right before they enter the Chinatown/ID station (northbound) or right after exiting the Chinatown/ID station (southbound).

    I guess STB doesn’t like Imgur links (my comments won’t show) but I beg your pardon for I know no alternative… An illustration of what I’m asking about: https://im gur .com/a/lgNYGee

  5. Now that I take the Link from UW-Husky Stadium often, I have the unfortunate opportunity to see how confusing it is to a new rider.

    Tonight, I got in the elevator on the bridge level. The customer was hesitant to push a button because he believed P is for Platform and was looking for a T for Train. He said he thought P is for Parking. I explained that the station elevator abreviations are not consisten, and that made him feel better. Then, moments later, we arrive and there are 2 trains. I can tell easily which one to catch, but he headed to the southbound (westside) train. Both train doors were open. I did not notice at first, but then I tried to get his attention. My doors closed. I saw him turn around and head to the correct train but missed it. I felt bad. This happens all the time. If I was paying attention more, I could have helped.

    Yesterday, on the same elevator, someone pushed the wrong button and it opened up at one of the 2 maintenance entrances. I thought they were smart card only levels. Three people tried to get off there. I grabbed someone’s shoulder and told them not to get off there. I think I scared him. Grabbing his shoulder was a reflex, I wasn’t really thinking.

    I may be wrong, but I seem to remember things being less confusing in other cities, even as I used different systems for the 1st time.

    1. It doesn’t help that the “Next Train This Platform” sign is often wrong, and sometimes the sign appears on both sides. I’ve seen the guard wait at the platform and point people to the right train when the sign is wrong.

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