31 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Carpocalypse Now”

  1. There are a couple simple fixes that could be implemented very quickly to speed up transit in the city:

    1) Have a board-free area downtown. This has been discussed (on this blog) before. The main benefit is that boarding is faster, where it needs to be faster (downtown). It costs Metro (and other agencies) money, but not necessarily that much. A lot of people use monthly passes. Others transfer to downtown. I would plan on making the changes temporary, which would discourage users from switching away from monthly passes. When Third Avenue has ORCA readers, and goes to off board payment, the free boarding period would end. Of course if they find that the lost fare revenue is minimal, then they could just extend the free boarding period indefinitely.

    2) Treat HOV violations like parking tickets. If a cop sees someone violating the law, they take a picture of the license plate (or write it down) and then send the owner a ticket. No traffic stop, no checking of license and insurance — none of that. Just a ticket in the mail, the same way you get a ticket on your windshield if you park in the wrong place. There is very little difference between driving in an HOV lane and parking illegally — we should treat them the same way.

    1. I remember the days of the Ride Free Area. People would pay when they got off the bus. And buses still lumbered and plodded through downtown, with: People slowly shuffling on and off the bus. The bus lift or ramp being deployed multiple times (with the driver having to get up and secure the wheelchair), The bus driver stopping a second time in the same zone to wait for a runner, Waiting at red lights, Waiting behind other buses that are loading wheel chairs, etc. The bus driver not moving the bus while he answers questions.

      I appreciate your efforts to speed up transit, but I think the difference would be imperceptible.

      1. The number of lifts on buses has dramatically decreased since then to almost none, with fleet replacement and almost-level boarding. Lots of people with walkers don’t even wait for the ramp to be deployed. At least for the time being, ORCA Boarding Assistants are bringing truth to their job titles by coming on board and assisting with restraint belts, so the driver can stay in the seat and be ready to move.

        Nobody is actively calling for the return of pay-after-you-shove-to-the-exit, which was the real headache that turned entire routes into plodding slogs.

        But given the near-impossibility of doing fare patrols on buses during the peak times when most are traveling, moving that enforcement off 3rd Ave, and letting those just trying to get from one end of downtown to the other board at any door, will help, especially now with the advent of 3-door buses.

        A Board Free Area or a BFA-after-6:30-pm would be useful for 2nd, 4th, and 5th Ave as well.

        Anything we can do to eliminate fare collection at the door downtown for the duration of Carpocalypse might pay for the lost revenue with saved service hours. (Red paint even more so, but Durkan is so totally focused on maximizing car throughput instead of people throughput, and even had the chutzpah to call for people to bike downtown after stalling the Basic Bike Network that would have made it much safer to do so.)

      2. “Nobody is actively calling for the return of pay-after-you-shove-to-the-exit, which was the real headache that turned entire routes into plodding slogs.”

        … and caused delays with passenger confusion and people waiting at the back door to exit and being told to come to the front. It got even worse when the RFA went from 24 hours to before 7pm, so there was even a time difference when when you paid on enter and when you paid on exit, and if you’re like me you’d forget that all the time because you can visualize a geograpical difference but not a temporal difference.

      3. Ross, the route 40 that leaves 4th and Jackson at 5 pm on weekdays takes 1 hour and 24 minutes to get to the Northgate TC. If your board-free downtown area was implemented and dwell times downtown were reduced by 38%, it would then take the route 40 1 hour and and 20 minutes to get to the NTC. That’s an imperceptible difference.

        Sam. But from now on I would like to be called El Hefe.

      4. The 40 is not intended to be ridden all the way from downtown to Northgate Transit Center. That is what the 41 is for.

    1. It’s like the Flintstones. Or horse-drawn streetcars.

      “could something like that work here in Seattle?”

      It would be illegal in the US. Trespassing on railroad property.

      I suppose we should be glad we have better transit options.

      Here’s an idea for a Page 2 project: you could try being a trolley pusher for a day and then write about whether you’d recommend this mode in Seattle. Since we don’t have rail lines in all the needed places, we could do it on the freeways with human-rolled buses. Which bus model would be best, and what color should it be? Also, the video says the pay rate is ten dollars a day. That’s the same as jurors get here. Compare the two career choices and discuss which one is better.

      1. Why not lay rail over Market street from 14th to 15th, and the homeless could push blog commenters who sing the praises of a walkable city in print, but who protest having to walk a block.

        “It’s not a block, Sam! It’s more like two long blocks!”

        Oh shut up.

      2. We could call it Un-Rapid Transit (URT). Finally the streetcars would have something they’re faster than. You could just see a streetcar blazing past the push-car and sticking its tongue out at it saying “Nyaa! Nyaa! I’m faster than you!”

      3. I truly hope I’m not sensing any disparagement of the transit workers in the video. Though my most serious concern is that the leading lady is in her own pay, and not some gangster’s employment roster.

        Because we’re three weeks into some convincing proof that our own Chief of State and the one in the Philippines see eye to eye about Government in general. “Illiberal Democracy”….more or less majority rule unhindered by a Bill of Rights. Let alone any rule that money itself can’t vote.

        Our man says either he gets his Wall or his government employees get the streets. How long, his call. If you’ve got a mortgage, or medical bills, or a family to feed, tell me you’re not looking for a metal plate, some coasters, a bench and a welding torch. And if not…what do you know that Presidents Trump and Duterte don’t?

        A former American landscape crew-member, I can sympathize with a Trump vote on one score. No fair I’ve got to compete with wages I can’t live on. (Deliberately) misidentified target. Should be, everybody willing to earn a living gets one.

        But in Michigan 40 years ago, my crew foreman told my boss: “Mark’s a good man and he really tries to keep that shovel moving. But the dirt’s still sitting there!” I couldn’t out-shovel a Salvadoran farmer and that, in our trade, was that.

        Wouldn’t wish the Route 7 rush hour or weekend nights on him. Or the other way around, for the survivors’ sake. But for the ability and attitude demanded in St. John’s Michigan in 1973, Carlos was dead right that for residential landscape to be done right, somebody had to combine both to get the job.

        The leading lady of the video. For a co-worker in public transit, I’d be proud to have her set my work standards by example for skill and attitude. Anybody reading this remember Instructor Roland McVay (forgive me my spelling, Roland.)

        To me, it’s this insistence that both our major party establishments, and their voters, hate and fear most and feeling’s mutual. How’s that for a Demographic? And to get back on page whether [TOPIC] requires or not:

        Recall catching some grief yesterday for wondering about express bus service via the DBT. Green Lake’s a pretty neighborhood, and Aurora at 85th a legitimate business district.

        Tell me why I can’t celebrate my 100th Birthday with an ST Express bus ride across the Narrows Bridge to Southworth and a SuperRapidRide from Fauntleroy to that outdoor cafe across from Green Lake? Or better yet, explain it to my chief care-giver who’s World President Duterte’s favorite niece.

        And anything round made of steel or rubber, and its handlers, or anybody who’s got a gun and a badge in the Greater Puget Sound Region, she will own.

        Mark Dublin

    2. Or you could organize an “Occupy the Viaduct” protest, and get the state to dedicate it to human-powered buses. That would provide grade-separated transit circulation to both the waterfront and downtown. You’d just have to install ladders below the bus stops, and ADA-compliant elevators.

    3. I have to say that biking downtown on the new Basic Bike Network is at least in competition with this video.

  2. I’m wondering how long it will be until comments start surfacing about how great the viaduct used to be; especially after people see the surface arterial that will replace it.

    1. Bernie, have you joined the reactionary environmental extremists who pooh-pooh the value of a tollway to connect north-enders to the stadia (where they won’t find acceptably ubiquitous and affordable parking)?

      Well, okay, maybe Amazon will pay for tollway passes for some of their employees, and that will make some regular use of the tollway.

      Yeah, I’ll miss the openness of the waterfront under the viaduct, soon to be a faster car sewer.

      You do understand that tearing down the viaduct was an absolutely urgent public safety emergency, right?

      1. Yeah, I remember Christine Gregoire saying “it’s coming down”… that was more than ten years ago. I believe it has outlived it’s design life but after all the careful monitoring, and several earthquakes, turns out it really isn’t in the crises in the making that was used to promote the Deep Debt Tunnel. Given the lane reductions of the replacement my thought was that a single level viaduct would have been the best replacement. Very few people understand that this grand new waterfront will be a shoulder to the new down town bypass.

      2. The boulevard is six lanes only south of Columbia Street. North of that it’s four lanes like the existing Alaskan Way and many other streets in Seattle. The touristy part of the waterfront is also north of Columbia Street; south of there is where it gets more industrial.

  3. Right on both points, Ross. Board-free Downtown should be a one phone-call “Just Do It!” Though just to show transit appreciates its fare-money, the driver can just use outside “PA” to tell everybody to just hold up their pass or show it in the nearest door-mirror as they board. I’d always get 100% compliance.

    And serious thanks, Sam, for letting us see the video from the Philippines again. I’m hoping it serves as a badly needed attitude-adjuster for too-common view in our country that world’s average citizen is either a terrorist, a beggar, or a helpless victim.

    Visit to the Kenya-Tanzania border five years ago, after fifty years’ absence, showed me some interesting political-economic history. At Independence, both countries were strongly socialist. Necessary and justified given the colonial misdivision or wealth about a tenth as bad as our own current one.

    But the daughters of the generation I went to school with, now comprise a business class who’ll not only eat our formerly-Great national lunch, but afford to leave a lot more generous tip. Delivered judiciously where rigorously deserved. Also to the owner-operator in the video, with compliments on her own business suit. And her balance sheet.

    And for giving me a chance chance to suggest something to you and anybody mechanically inclined who lives near a hardware store. Does old Ballard Avenue still have one that isn’t now a boutique? There used to be a working freight railroad between Fremont and Shilshole.

    If the tracks are still there, I can see BN approving a working arrangement involving surveillance and vandalism-control on the part of their new transit partners. And best of all…..Subarea Equity!

    Because similar tracks connect Downtown Bellevue with South Kirkland Park and Ride, where the track gives way to bike and hiking trail. I can see vehicles with both steel wheels and rubber tires giving single seat ride at least to Totem Lake.

    Even got first step for you, Sam. Tell the Cross Kirkland homeowners’ association you’re starting service tomorrow. After you dare the Washington State Republicans to back you up on private enterprise that’ll make Uber and Elon look Green Party with pink bow ribbons.

    But finally- critical detail. Video clearly shows maintenance foreman actually tasting lubricant before the car goes on duty. More important, a when a dog tells you they can hear a flat spot, best just go over to Old Ballard Avenue and tell the boutique you need a bearing.


  4. Unlike most posted Sunday videos, i didn’t learn anything from this one. Maybe I’m too jaded — and I’ve read about too many specific actions on here! :)

    1. Look at it from somebody else’s point of view, Al. Seriously doubt any of these people were given the chance to refuse to permit their being shown competing for viewership with the young lady train driver in Manila.

      But patience isn’t same thing as acquiescence. If you’d just fast-forward the video to its end, one of your next four choices shows a giant gray driving wheel identified with term “tornado”. Leading your eyes to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Y0Yqxg6ooY.

      I never knew the British Isles even had tornadoes. King Lear has a line where he’s yelling about “hurricanoes”, which may have been what suddenly turned primeval marshland into the English Channel. But does seem like a pretty decent description of the machinery in question with the throttle down.

      With this connection to current themes and events. An age out of date for anything called “freight”, present route of Sounder North and Amtrak Vancouver (BC not Kentucky) is absolutely perfect for excursion trains pulled by these wheeled seismographic readings.

      Once saw consist cross the Locks with lead locomotive engineer wearing a horned Viking helmet which scholarly authority says Vikings never used in war-time. Anyhow, these forces of Nature at her worst can can still be given Sounder train numbers except not where anybody will notice.



      For Sounder’s most promising New Look, Play these two together and then imagine ST colors on the cars. Or on second thought, don’t. Shouldn’t make fun, though. YouTube addiction is doubtless blowing away all competition from meth, opioids, and catvideoitis.

      Really got to watch it. Vladimir Putin doing “Blue Moon” is only KGB boot in the door of weaponized late-night entertainment. And talk about unfair military advantage. None of our armed forces issue their women soldiers with full-length black cavalry boots to dance in!

      And one real caution. Based on some historic musical footage from around 1600, Polish jokes won’t seem so funny anymore.


    1. I guess I’ll just have to bus it to Everett to catch Cascades, and CT will have to pick up the hundreds of daily North Sounder riders on buses. As for the cooooaaaaaallllll trains, they’ll just have to find a new path. Shucky darn.

      I’m sure the declaration of public safety emergency can be put in abeyance until the new structure is in place, and we can avoid the public safety disaster that would result from not being able to bring the coal trains through town.

      Heck, we may even pick up some portage business in Interbay and SODO.

      1. Oh no, there will be a parallel bridge put in place before the old one goes down. It would be too disruptive to BNSF operations. So, freight and passenger trains will continue to operate (they might a day or two disruptions to make the track connections between the old and new.

      2. New bridge construction is just waiting for CG clearance. In terms of transportation projects it will be soon.

        “We replaced trunion bearings about eight years ago, and we thought we had probably 10 or 15 more years after that, but we are starting to hear noises we heard eight years ago,” Wallace said. “So it really does make more sense to replace it now.”


  5. On Saturday5the street traffic seemed fine. However, I took 4 coaches yesterday. 3 of them had no working announements or display at all. The 4th was announcing stops at the other end of the route. After months of lecturing folks to be prepared for the closure, Metro apparently failed to take its own advice. Typical crappy execution by Metro!

  6. I took a ride on the RapiidRide C today, Sunday, to see what the temporary (?) route ride will be.
    From the WS Bridge, to Spokane viaduct, the Bus Only lane to the 4th Ave exit will, IMO, be very helpful. Once down to ground level at 4th however, the jagged connection to the bus expressway may be congested with weekday traffic.
    The expressway travel was o.k.; lots of colorful walls on the warehouses.
    A stop at the light rail at Lander might provide a transfer to a quicker ride to central downtown, but, I do not know how quickly that could be implemented.
    Once at the bus terminal/stadium location at 4th * Royal Brougham I think things will really degrade.
    There is already much congestion there as busses jockey from the stop on the right lane to position for transition to Third Ave.
    Once there, it’s usual 3rd Ave traffic with it’s own set of frictions.
    As to the return trip, I wondered about alternate side of the street no parking/bus only lanes on 1st.
    North could be two lanes cars, one bus only in the morning, and South could be the same for the evening commute. This might be useful after the tunnel opens as well.

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