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79 Replies to “News Roundup: Gov. Inslee Insists”

  1. The streetcar improvements are akin to what Portland had to go through before they completed their loop. I can’t say enough about how I prefer getting around Portland over Seattle because of their urban ground transportation.

    Portland is obviously very happy with their system otherwise they wouldn’t be planning for two more segments.

    1. The Portland Streetcar is slower than walking, so having it cannot possibly be an improvement over not having it, except for those that are disabled and unable to walk.

      The Portland MAX is better, but it takes 30 minutes to slog from one end of downtown to the other end. This means that in order to get from anywhere on one side of downtown to anywhere on the other side of downtown, you are forced to either pay this tax, or find some other way to get around, such as driving, or riding a bicycle.

      The Portland MAX also doesn’t run as often as Seattle Link does. Every 15 minutes is pretty much as good as it gets, and on Sundays, the frequency drops off to every 30 minutes as early as 8:30 PM.

      Perhaps Portland could have spent their operating funds more effectively by running the MAX more often (e.g. every 10 minutes all day long, like Link does), rather than running the streetcars.

      1. I often roll my eyes at anyone who thinks Portland made no mistakes. The Downtown Portland rail crawl is quaint but it’s very unappealing for crosstown trips through Downtown.

        To compare, think how long it would take to have two regional light rail lines follow this CCC alignment! Certainly ST could have proposed the “cheap” way to get to Ballard and West Seattle by having a First Avenue or even a Third Avenue surface light rail transit mall from Seattle Center to the Stadiums but wisely didn’t.

        I still wish against hope that the streetcar money went to extending our Downtown stations and adding more escalators and elevators. (Maybe LIDs can do that in the future.) At least the CCC is still at a lower cost than building any sort of tunnel in West Seattle or under the Ship Canal — that won’t serve hardly any transit rider better.

        It of course saddens me that Seattle can’t step back and see that Downtown transit’s biggest deficiencies are hillside issues that CCC doesn’t really address.

      2. @asdf2,

        The bus is slower than walking. Much slower in fact. I can even beat metro’s much ballyhooed rapidride in certain areas just by walking. So if that is your main arguement against streetcar, then what should we do about buses?

      3. I’ll agree with all of the above except:

        + MAX is generally better than every 15 minutes during peak periods, but it depends on the line. Instead of overly crowded trains every 10 minutes they do peak period every several minutes on the blue line, with several green line trains 10 minutes apart. Peak period is about 31 trains an hour.

        During the recession they cut back off-peak hours because that is what they could cut without reducing capacity. The entire system still hasn’t been fully restored (the bus closest to me still knocks off an hour earlier than it used to) but every quarter sees a few new slots added.

        + TriMet provides the operators for Portland Streetcar, but other than this it was/is a city of Portland operation. Taking the funds from the taxing district that funds the streetcar and putting the money into more MAX operation would never have happened. The taxing district isn’t along MAX lines instead but follows the streetcar.

      4. I can attest to the fact that the Portland Streetcar is much faster than walking. I’m from Portland, and there have been a number of occasions where I arrived ~20 minutes late to work because I missed my streetcar by 30 seconds. Even during evening rush hour, it takes 30 minutes to get from South Waterfront to NW 23rd via the streetcar (a 3 mile trek exclusively through downtown)

        That said, I do agree that MAX is far too slow downtown. When that segment was built in the ’80s it was a relatively new mode of transit in the US and they seemed to go for a quaint streetcar style there. The TriMet is in the process of closing several redundant downtown stops to improve speed, but I believe the area would be best served by a light rail tunnel.

      5. MAX east-west has too close station spacing downtown, but MAX north-south is better and feels about right. The north-south corridor was built later so they clearly learned some things.

        MAX is on a 15-minute per line schedule, which is OK where two or more lines ovelap but substandard where there’s only a single line. I much like Link better with its 10 minute minimum before 10pm. That’s at least closer to cities where each line is never more than 5 minutes.

        Of course they should have built an east-west tunnel in the first place and crossed the river so trains wouldn’t have to slow to a crawl approaching the bridge.

      6. Actually, when considering door to door trips, I think your example is still at least as fast, if not faster, walking than taking the streetcar. For example, consider this trip from a random house a block away from the 23rd station to OMSI. The entire walk, Google estimates in about an hour, but they tend to be conservative in estimating walking speeds, so if you walk fast, you can probably do it in about 50 minutes. Now, let’s consider the streetcar option. You have to transfer between two lines, whose segments take 15 minutes and 19 minutes, respectively. That’s 34 minutes total on the streetcar. But, you’re not done. You have to wait for the train twice, first at 23rd, again at 11th/Alder. The streetcar runs every 15 minutes, so you would expect the two waits total to be about 15 minutes. Now, we’re at 50 minutes total, but you still have to walk from home to the 23rd Ave. station, and from the OMSI station to the actual museum (5 minutes total), so the grand total is 55 minutes. 55 > 50.

        Therefore, door-to-door, the streetcar is indeed slower than walking. Of the course, the streetcar may win the race on days when you happen to get lucky and it happens to be coming right when you show up. But, in general, if you’re deciding when to leave home to ensure you get to your destination by a certain time, choosing the streetcar over walking will not allow you to leave home any later.

        If we consider a shorter trip that doesn’t involve transferring between the lines, the streetcar still doesn’t look good. Let’s consider this trip to OMSI from Powell’s Books. The streetcar is 21 minutes of riding, plus about 5 minutes of walking (total, on both ends), plus an estimated 8 minutes of waiting, since the streetcar runs every 15 minutes. That’s 34 minutes total travel time. Walking, Google estimates the entire trip at 34 minutes, and, again, if you powerwalk, you can probably beat it. Again, the streetcar is not actually providing any transportation value over the sidewalk, beyond serving as a glorified handicapped shuttle.

      7. @asdf2
        “Again, the streetcar is not actually providing any transportation value over the sidewalk, beyond serving as a glorified handicapped shuttle.”

        This is one of the major advantages of streetcars, its inclusiveness of seniors, various mobility handicapped individuals and visitors. When I utilize Portland’s highly utilized system I notice an entire different clientele than what I see on buses. Public transportation should be inclusive and not just for those with 20 year old legs. S-cars are much cheaper and easier to manage this diversity.

      8. @assf:
        The big problem with that particular trip is most people taking transit would probably just grab the 17 and be there in less time than either because there is no transfer. Or, 77 to the 9 or Orange Line.

        The every other block spacing for MAX stations downtown was set because that is what the buses were doing until 2009, and some routes still do.

      9. @asdf2
        I’m not talking about periphery Max or Link, but referring to downtown cores. Movement on Link is far superior than MAX when it comes to moving from the periphery to the core.

        Its’ Portland’s core that has much better street level access than Seattle, ie, the combination of streetcars and downtown MAX put stations at practically every block. No gopher holes to migrate or 3rd world buses to board. Just an easier system to use if you need a simple ride from Target to Lovejoys bakery or up to the hospital district.

      10. asdf, a smart user would take the North-South line to the Dental School and walk across the Tillicum Crossing. One and Done in 29 minutes plus five for the bridge walk.

      11. @MikeOrr: MAX isn’t just 15 minute per line on every line all the time. They do adjust it for peak periods.

        For example, weekday peaks see a southbound orange line train in Milwaukie (which is at the outside edge of that line) at 4:16 pm, 4:31, 4:46, 4:58, 5:01, 5:16, 5:31, 5:35, 5:46 and 6:01. Some of these are 15 minutes apart, and others are closer to 10 minutes apart, and a couple of them are only several minutes apart.

        Blue line is similarly adjusted for peak period. At Elmontica there are arrivals at 4:58, 5:13, 5:17, 5:22, 5:28, 5:32, 5:37, 5:43, and 5:52. All of these go through to the end of the line at Gresham. That’s 4 minutes between the most closely spaced trains.

        What really suffers is the red and yellow lines, as those are the ones that are constant 15 minute service. Other than the airport there really isn’t that much along the red line worth serving and the airport does fine with 15 minute service. It’s bad for the transit center at I-205 & Sandy Blvd.

        It would be great to have 10 minute service on all lines all the time, but instead they have put capacity into lines that have the most ridership demand and need for relief from overcrowding.

    2. I have been to Portlandia quite a few times the past few years, between airshows and checking out Trimess.

      I do think the streetcars for Portland work well. Mostly because they work in companion to surface-level MAX.

      But instead of this SW Corridor extension, Trimet needs to replace its Steel Bridge with a bridge or tunnel so all the lines aren’t disrupted when the bridge has to be lifted. Then Trimet needs to replace its aging rail cars. Trimet also needs to address shoddy operator safety and get better signal priority for both buses AND rail.

      All capital projects. All more important than expansion.

      I don’t support in any way MAX Light Rail coming to our State of Transit. There are just too many ginormous issues that will come with that – such as Trimet’s financial situation if you believe free market Cascade Policy Institute, governance (obviously we Washingtonians are going to want a say), and again the internal Trimet issues above.

      Frankly, here’s a pro-transit solution: C-TRAN frequent buses to MAX stations in bus only lanes. When those buses fill up, my position will – not maybe, will – have to change.

      1. [obs, ah]

        So far as the express buses, yes to them and YES YES YES YES to the HOV lanes. Oregon has heretofore not been very progressive on them.

        C-Tran expresses already go to Downtown Portland, the Rose Quarter and Marquam Hill. It would be a good idea to send some to the west side of downtown at Goose Hollow to take advantage of the superb MAX performance out to the tech corridor through the big tunnel while avoiding the slow, halting operation through downtown Portland and all the stops on the west side.

        Send another route to Tigard T/C and one line to Tualatin T/C and Wilsonville. The C-Tran expresses recover 62% of their operating costs. The new lines would be going farther and, so, would not have that farebox recovery, but the relatively high fares would make even them less of a burden than most C-Tran lines.

      2. OK Tom Terrific,

        a) Let’s for the sake of debate go from an if to simply not believe anything Cascade Policy Institute has done because their agenda isn’t that much different than their Washington State counterpart. There are still outstanding issues around governance, the fact every lift on the Steel Bridge disrupts ALL the MAX Lines, and lack of Trimet funding for maintenance/state of good repair AND replacing the oldest MAX cars. For starters.

        b) I agree, “So far as the express buses, yes to them and YES YES YES YES to the HOV lanes. Oregon has heretofore not been very progressive on them. C-Tran expresses already go to Downtown Portland, the Rose Quarter and Marquam Hill. It would be a good idea to send some to the west side of downtown at Goose Hollow to take advantage of the superb MAX performance out to the tech corridor through the big tunnel while avoiding the slow, halting operation through downtown Portland and all the stops on the west side. Send another route to Tigard T/C and one line to Tualatin T/C and Wilsonville. The C-Tran expresses recover 62% of their operating costs. The new lines would be going farther and, so, would not have that farebox recovery.”

        So yes, by all means let’s get some transit-only lanes jointly enforceable between Oregon & Washington State. If our esteemed Governor wants to have less diesel buses, then fund transit agencies buying more electric buses and eventually some new, clean geothermal & hydropower development. There. Game.

      3. I know, that Southwest corridor thing is a mess. However, the Metro regional government said that is where light rail needs to be built next, completely ignoring places where transit would actually work. Picture what sort of Link routing you would get if the Puget Sound Regional Council determined both where to build Link lines and what gets classified as an urban center, and you get Portland’s Metro.

        (Southwest corridor MAX would be something like building a link line along I-5 to the Federal Way freeway exit, skipping all actual developable land and potential destinations and ending in the middle of a set of freeway entrance ramps that are dangerous for pedestrians. The current plan serves very little other than park and ride lots. There’s a big long jug handle construct to serve part of Tigard, but there really isn’t that much in that part of Tigard.)

      4. Joe, you are absolutely right that the Steel Brudge is a tremendous and very fragile choke point. Tri-Met needs a tunnel from about NE Seventh to Goise Hollow with “wiggles”, to both the north and south of the current path. However Oregon doesn’t have the kind of money needed.

        So what will probably happen is a new bridge adjacent to the Steel for the Red/Blue line. That at least will remove the capacity block.

  2. Clark County Republicans “voiced their support for bus rapid transit rather than light rail, which they’ve criticized as costly and inflexible”

    I would imagine this would be akin to running BRT from Lynnwood to Northgate, it just doesn’t make sense when you have a built out system that manages large volume of riders more efficiently. You want to maximize your return on your investment I would think.

    1. Depends on where you want to tie together TriMet’s MAX and C-tran’s Vine & other buses. Do you want the MAX Expo station to be the transfer point (bus lane on the new bridge), or tie everything together in downtown Vancouver.

      1. The plan was to utilize the under used yellow line to Expo which would give access to downtown and several other points along the way.

        I should have noted that Vancouver’s population is 5 times that of Lynnwood.

      2. If I were to use BRT for anything it would be a connection from the Lombard or Kenton stations to PDX. This would be a huge selling point for Vancouver residents.

      3. I should have noted that Vancouver’s population is 5 times that of Lynnwood.

        Kansas has more people than Chicago. That doesn’t mean they should build a subway.

        Density and proximity are the two biggest factors for a successful transit system. There are other issues, of course, but those two are key. As it turns out, Vancouver has basically the same density as Lynnwood (https://arcg.is/0nSSP0 and https://arcg.is/0OXuGv). Vancouver is closer to downtown Portland than Lynnwood, so there is that. But you also have to have demand, and while I have no doubt that lots of people travel from Vancouver to Portland every day, my guess is lots of people just stay north of the river. According to Wikipedia, 70% of the workers in Vancouver work in Clark County, which means it more an independent city than a typical bedroom suburb.

        Probably the third most important factor for subway success is whether you have destinations along the way. For example, Northgate Link will have several big destinations spread out fairly close together. The extra time that Northgate riders spend waiting at each stop is justified, because many get off before downtown. Between Lynnwood and Northgate there is basically nothing of that nature. I honestly don’t know what Vancouver stops would look like, or whether there would be much value added by connecting stops along the way.

        To put it another way — subway lines don’t connect cities, they connect neighborhoods. I’m not talking about broadly defined neighborhood either. Link will go to West Seattle, but it won’t serve all of it. It will serve the Junction, though, and that is the level at which we should be focused.

        Without that, you simply have a set of bus intercept stations. Bus intercept stations are fine, but building your system around it is extremely expensive, and ultimately leads to a worse system. You run out of money to provide what makes sense for the vast majority of riders.

        I honestly don’t know the particulars of Vancouver, and whether there are a series of stations that could justify the cost of light rail. I seriously doubt it. My guess is the extra cost of a rail crossing is very high, the number of riders relatively small, and the destinations along the way minor. It wouldn’t surprise me if “open BRT” makes the most sense. By that I mean a series of express buses that go into the Vancouver neighborhoods, then quickly get the rider to Portland. Done right, it would probably lead to a better system (for the same amount of money) as the best possible rail line across the river.

      4. You obvious don’t understand Vancouver. It isn’t only jobs that dictate crossing the border. Sales tax is a huge driving force for which a station was planned near the Jentzen shopping centers and Hayden Island in general. Also, entertainment, airport and other amenities are a big factor. Just the very fact that they need transportation expansion says you are discounting the nature of demand.

        The majority of Vancouverites want rail, it is Clark County that barely voted it down.

        Portland has invested billions in rail, why in the hell would they invest in more road access to downtown if they don’t want more road vehicle congestion, it’s ridiculous. If Washingtonians want to take advantage of Oregon’s benefits (sales tax, jobs, international airport and etc) they should oblige by respecting Portland’s transportation priorities otherwise stay the hell home.

        I find this ironic coming from someone who does nothing but champion bus connections to stations at 130th, 145th and etc

        The yellow line has several stations to access including Rose Quarter, Pioneer Square, Lombard and etc.

      5. Before jumping to conclusions about riding the MAX from Vancouver to the Portland airport, let’s take a moment to estimate how long such a trip would actually take. Looking at the map, taking the Yellow Line all the way into downtown, followed by the red line is a very roundabout way to get to the airport. If you add up all the travel times together (adding an additional 6 minutes for a hypothetical extension of the Yellow Line to downtown Vancouver), plus the overhead of switching trains, you’re looking at about an hour of travel time – not including however long it takes to get from home to the downtown Vancouver MAX station.

        By contrast, driving enjoys a much more direct route down suburban freeways, and Google estimates the entire trip to be 18 minutes, without traffic. Plus, you can go directly from home, and not spend that additional half hour riding a bus to the Vancouver MAX station, first. As of the time I’m writing this comment, this drive would cost about $20 (plus tip) on UberX.

        All in all, while a Yellow Line extension would be great for commuting to downtown Portland (and may, in fact, be justified, just from the downtown Portland commuters, alone), the line is unlikely to produce a measurable impact on how Vancouverites get to the airport.

      6. C-Tran already has those express buses. The big problem is getting those dedicated bus lanes so the buses aren’t stuck in traffic. You’d have to build an entirely new set of lanes specifically for the buses. Once you’ve done this, you might as well have just extend MAX north. At the very least MAX needs to serve Hayden Island as there is somewhat better all day demand there than at the Expo Center.

      7. @asdf2
        You missed my other comments:

        I think a BRT from St Johns intersecting with Lombard or Kenton LR stations and on to the airport would be ideal and beneficial for both north portlandiers and vancouverites.

      8. It isn’t only jobs that dictate crossing the border.

        I never said it was. The point is, Vancouver is not a sleepy suburb, where most people work in the big city. It is a smaller satellite city — largely independent of the bigger one. Of course there are people who visit Portland, to shop or go out. But probably not enough to justify the expense of brand new rail. You just aren’t going to get the volumes necessary for that, no matter where you build the stations. Holy smoke, right above this thread you have asdf2 talking about how they wish that Max ran more often. Do you really think they are going to run trains often from Vancouver so that folks can go shopping?

        I find this ironic coming from someone who does nothing but champion bus connections to stations at 130th, 145th and etc

        I’m also championing bus connections here. Actually, all I’m saying is that BRT sounds very reasonable, given the lack of density and suitable stops. It is a different dynamic, similar to SR 520. Sure, we could run a train across there, but what good what that do? The vast majority of folks would still have to take a bus to the station (somewhere on the east side) and then transfer again to go downtown. Instead it makes way more sense to run buses across 520, and build a busway connecting the HOV 3 lanes to the UW. That way, folks would have a one seat ride to the UW, and a two seat ride to downtown. For many — especially those farther away — it would be faster. The only thing you lose out on are trips along the way, which in the case of 520 would only be on the lake.

        The point being that downtown Vancouver is simply not strong enough as a destination to justify a brand new rail bridge. No neighborhood in Vancouver is. Areas like this lend themselves to trunk and branch (bus based) system.

        C-Tran already has those express buses. The big problem is getting those dedicated bus lanes so the buses aren’t stuck in traffic. You’d have to build an entirely new set of lanes specifically for the buses.

        Yes, that’s what I’m saying.

        Once you’ve done this, you might as well have just extend MAX north.

        It is a matter of cost, as well as convenience. I thought I made that clear. It may be significantly cheaper to add dedicated bus lanes (what some are calling BRT) instead of new rail line. If it isn’t (or it is the opposite) then rail would make more sense.

        From a convenience standpoint, it depends on where the buses would end. If they ended downtown, then it is quite possible that it would be faster and easier for a rider. It takes about a half hour for the train to get from Expo to downtown. Outside of rush hour, a bus beats that easily. That doesn’t even count the additional time for a transfer. Thus you have a system that at best makes sense for commuters, a group that statistics suggest is not that large (and les says don’t represent the bulk of the trips).

        Without a doubt you lose something with express buses. In this case, improving the express buses means losing out on trips to the north of Vancouver (on an extended Yellow Line). To me that is a very small price to pay. Put it another way — assume they built both. Assume that the Yellow line extended into Vancouver. Now assume that there was an express bus that went through the neighborhoods in Vancouver, got on the freeway, and got to downtown Vancouver ten minutes before the train. My guess is very few would take the train. (But again, I don’t really know Portland — maybe I’m wrong in that assessment).

        Vancouver just looks like a classic example of where a trunk and branch system makes more sense. It sprawls to the east as much to the north. It doesn’t have the density to support a branching rail system — it probably doesn’t have the density to support even a single line — thus making it appropriate for a better bus system.

        By the way, so far as I can tell, Vancouver to Portland transit stinks. Traffic may play a part, but mostly it is just lack of service. I played around with some trips and it looked horrible. For example, I picked an apartment complex in one of the few areas in Vancouver that has density above 10,000 people per square mile. Look how long it takes to get downtown on a Tuesday afternoon: https://goo.gl/maps/Vf2JAWhRNou. Even as a commute to downtown Portland it is really bad: https://goo.gl/maps/ZJFLR8hiqaD2. There is no question that speeding up the system would help, but it sure looks like lack of service is the biggest problem.

      9. Once you start adding lanes the cost pf BRT approaches rail so you might as build rail. Especially when there’s already a line just across the river waiting to cross.

      10. “I think a BRT from St Johns intersecting with Lombard or Kenton LR stations and on to the airport would be ideal and beneficial for both north portlandiers and vancouverites.”

        I think such a line would definitely have value for Portland; I think think if you’re coming from Vancouver, by the you get to it, it’s still not worth using to go the airport. Essentially, most of Vancouver, you’re talking about a 3-seat ride. Bus to Vancouver MAX Station. Train to Lombard. Bus to the airport.

        I do see a real argument for justifying Vancouver light rail by commuters going to work in Portland – especially if you consider the fact that, if you’re going to widen the bridge to put in a bus lane, it really isn’t that much of a cost leap to just extend the yellow line. But, the case is going to have to made based on the Vancouver->downtown Portland traffic – not the people going to the airport.

      11. @asdf2 “3 seat ride”

        This no different to a:
        Bus to a Bellevue station
        East Link to IH
        IH to Seatac

        I would use it if it meant not having to worry about driving and parking.

      12. @Ross

        “But probably not enough to justify the expense of brand new rail”.

        This is absolutely absurd. Compared to a Ballard Link station, stations in Vancouver and Hayden Island will be a huge pressure release for an over swollen CRC. I’m guessing it will draw 2-3 times the ridership at less than 1/2 the cost.

      13. “This no different to a:
        Bus to a Bellevue station
        East Link to IH
        IH to Seatac”

        Those are the first and second largest downtowns in the region. You;d have to compare one of them to downtown Portland and the other to, um, Beaverton? Also, if Bellevue to SeaTac is a longer distance than Vancouver to Portland Airport then you’d expect more transfers.

      14. @les — Now you are just being silly. A better comparison is Tukwila. It takes a while to get downtown and density is low. Actually, a trip from Tukwila to downtown is faster, but I will say Vancouver does have a little more going on (but nothing like Ballard). Just where do you think a station could be built that could rival a good station in Ballard?

        @Mike Once you start adding lanes the cost pf BRT approaches rail so you might as build rail. Especially when there’s already a line just across the river waiting to cross.

        Not necessarily. You have to run the math. That’s all I’m saying. If you are right, and the train is cheaper, then of course you extend the line. But if adding a lane is a lot cheaper, then you do that. There are trade-offs with each approach (express bus serving running in an HOV lane would be faster to downtown, while a train would offer better connections to other places). I figure it is a draw overall, and the deciding factor should be cost. But the idea that a train would carry huge numbers of people is just ridiculous. A trip to downtown Portland would take too long, and Vancouver is too spread out. There just aren’t any cities, anywhere that have high ridership under those conditions. Heck, the entire Yellow Line carries only 13,000 a day. Hard to imagine ridership would suddenly explode with a few stations in Vancouver.

      15. @ROSSB — “Now you are just being silly”

        There was a combination of Vancouver stations and P&Rs in the plans (i think there were 4 stations including Wa’s Hayden Island). If I remember correctly the cost total for the LR component being $800 million with the feds covering 100% (most was for P&R). Bridge was already being built by states. I think Vancouver still owns the P&R properties.

        Ballard had a jump of at least 500 million in its recent estimates and by the time they get around to buying land it will jump another 500 million. Ballard has got to be at least 2 billion for its last two stations because of that bridge and underground station.

        Vancouver at the time had projections of 20-30,000 riders. Again, given the 10-20 year delay I’m guessing this has gone up. The last time I read anything about Ballard they were at the 10-15,000 numbers for their two stations. But I’m sure this is going up as well.

        Vancouver has seen the job market increase by 2.8% over the last year. Future job growth over the next ten years is predicted to be 38.8%. Vancouver had the second-largest increase in population among WA cities

      16. Ross you should really take a look at the C-Tran numbers before you spout off about ridership potential. You do know, like University Links elimination of express routes, these riders will be absorbed into MAX. Throw in the Jantzen numbers, reverse commuters, future airport lines, inner Vancouver trips and etc, these numbers will be there.

      17. In response to what les commmented on above….

        “There was a combination of Vancouver stations and P&Rs in the plans (i think there were 4 stations including Wa’s Hayden Island). If I remember correctly the cost total for the LR component being $800 million with the feds covering 100% (most was for P&R). Bridge was already being built by states. I think Vancouver still owns the P&R properties.”

        I have no idea as to what proposal you’re referencing in your numbers above. The last proposal I remember was the 2.9 mile, 5 station light rail line that was part of the Columbia River Crossing Project. The Nov 2012 rating assignment from the FTA for that transit project showed a total cost of $2.8 billion in YOE$. The funding assumed an $850M (30.4%)in a New Starts grant and another $850M (30.4%) in a TIFIA loan agreement. The rest of the funding was from a FHWA grant, $123M (4.4%), toll bond proceeds, $250M (8.9%), existing WSDOT and ODOT funds, $25M (.9%), and needed new funding from both states’ legislatures in the magnitude of $260M (9.3%)and $440M (15.7%) respectively.

        Also, Hayden Island is on the Oregon side.

    2. les, this morning it looks like Jay Inslee’s staff forwarded him my comment about how transit’s greatest political need is for Republicans like the one who founded Metro Transit. Hence Jay’s step up to the plate on light rail this morning.

      Shame how often terrorism works. I think you’re right about Portland’s strong position on light rail. But as a general principle, I don’t think that true busways (at least 40′ long) and light rail are in permanent conflict. Our own DSTT- as designed, rather than as operated- served both modes well. Though conversion to full rail always planned.

      Also good odds that if Vancouver (Washington’s) busway advocates are granted their wish…well, off peak, why not put the lanes general purpose and just go to a movie. Glad Glenn’s no longer fighting alone.

      Mark

      1. I agree, I don’t think the two are at odds and there is a place and purpose for each. I think a BRT from St Johns intersecting with Lombard or Kenton LR stations and on to the airport would be ideal and beneficial for both north portlandiers and vancouverites. But on the same token, Portland’s LR network/backbone utilization must be maximized for maximum benefit. This is one thing I love about Portland, and that is its attempt to keep taxis, buses and other 3rd world transport on the downtown fringes and out of the center.

    3. Vancouver is changing and in particular the new Waterfront development there is opening eyes to many conventional-suburban-living Clark County residents to urbanity.

      The politicians there are behind the curve appealing to old rage radio listeners.

  3. A whole New Year full of thanks for Dar es Salaam, Martin. Where I last rode a bus 52 years ago. Anybody else with more recent experience on page this morning?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_V29yVYqGo

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dar_es_Salaam_bus_rapid_transit

    Wish I thought KC Metro would give me a better reference when I apply to drive there. From what I remember of African sense of public order, think main transit assault casualties are people who mess with bus drivers.

    Guess there’ll be usual discussion whether they should’ve gone for rail. Best answer is that since the Chinese have already built considerable rail in Africa- as their forebears did in the United States, their engineers will be on it when time comes.

    But also notice that the place is flatter than LA, so aside from mass of buildings, people, bike, and road traffic, plenty of rubber-tire room compared to Seattle. For which I found an interesting mode-choice comparison.

    I finally found a world-class transit system with less elbow room and steeper hills than Seattle.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tiTp581IqU

    Notice also how the streetcars somehow create their own lane priority and signal pre-empt. Speaking of which, I hope SDOT’s got some plans to let streetcars pre-empt the traffic light at Fairview and Valley, east end of the block for the Wooden Boat Center.

    Honest, Martin, this morning you’ve given me my life’s Happiest New Year. Which as the Chinese are alleged to have put it, promises to be a period of “Interesting Times”. Gone flat-out “Fascinating!”

    Mark Dublin

      1. In other words, streetcars are the equivalent of staging when selling a house. They are worthless, but add a little something to the look of a place.

      2. @Sam
        Worthless? no. Additional benefits besides the movement of people? yes

        I’d much rather a city’s goal be keeping buses, taxis and other 3rd world road dependent transit on the fringes and let rails do the bulk of urban movement. Cities like Portland and Melbourne have proven this to be effective, why not Seattle.

      3. les, I can tell you didn’t read the ST article. The streetcar’s purpose isn’t the movement of people. We got conned. And we’re about to get conned again, to the tune of $300 million dollars per mile.

        BTW, there already is a rail line from the Westlake area to Pioneer Square/Chinatown. It’s called Link.

      4. Sam, I did read the article. The author’s view is an opinion and not fact, sorry you miss the difference. The author argues for BRT but fails to mention the 300 million we are about to spend for a single Kirkland BRT station, one which will only transport a few 100 passengers per day. This when the CCC will have the least passenger mile subsidies of any of our transportation tools.

        Link stations are great but streetcar stations will be much more prevalent and easier to access and allow for shorter access distances. Too bad there are so many out there that have this egocentric attitude that we all have 20 year old legs and prefer the inconveniences of gopher like transport.

        BTW, there already is a rail line from the Westlake area to Pioneer Square/Chinatown. It’s called Link.

      5. I’d much rather a city’s goal be keeping buses, taxis and other 3rd world road dependent transit on the fringes and let rails do the bulk of urban movement. Cities like Portland and Melbourne have proven this to be effective, why not Seattle.

        First of all, the developing world has plenty of rail. Second of all, your statements about Portland are silly. About 120,000 people a day ride Max. Another 20,000 ride the streetcar. About 180,00 ride the bus. So a majority ride the bus, and furthermore, the numbers are tiny. Most people, in Portland, drive. About 84% of the trips taken are via a car. Even as a commute share, Portland is weak, with about 12% of Portland commuters commuting by transit. Seattle is much better than Portland in terms of transit ridership. (Portland is better in terms of biking).

        Look, I get it, you love trains. You probably have pictures of them on the wall. But buses play a huge part in transit in just about every city in the world. Huge, older cities sometimes have big Metro systems, or old rail lines they leverage, but most of the world’s cities depend on buses. Even really big cities, like Chicago, with massive numbers of people on the trains each and every day, have more people riding the bus. Even in cities where rail ridership exceeds bus ridership (like New York) still have massive numbers riding the bus (in the case of New York, over 2 million a day). Ignoring, or worse yet, treating buses like second rate transit suggests that you simply don’t understand transit.

        References:

        * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_local_bus_agencies_by_ridership
        * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_North_American_light_rail_systems_by_ridership
        * http://blog.oregonlive.com/commuting/2012/10/metro_study_84_percent_of_port.html
        * https://www.sightline.org/2012/02/28/commuting-in-seattle-and-portland/

      6. @Ross: “About 120,000 people a day ride Max. Another 20,000 ride the streetcar. About 180,00 ride the bus.”

        I imagine these percentages were much different before Max and streetcars came into existence, ie, bus ridership was 100%. So f***ing what! Buses are great because that’s the only other mode besides bikes and cars?

      7. I remember when buses were the only PT option in Seattle. Thank god the city figured out there were better tools for certain corridors.

      8. Bus ridership in Portland would likely be lower without MAX. For example, Interstate Avenue would still be struggling with capacity issues on the 5, which really couldn’t do much more with buses. Service hours were invested elsewhere when MAX yellow line came.

      9. >> So f***ing what!

        So it is fucking idiotic to ignore or denigrate the mode of transport that is vital to transit mobility. Holy shit, man, do I have to break out the puppets?

        YOU NEED BOTH! Every fucking city uses BOTH trains and buses to move massive numbers of people. New York City, which has the greatest subway system on the continent, with 468 stations, 232 miles of tracks, 36 lines and over 5 million riders a day, still has a robust bus system that carries 2 million riders a day! They aren’t alone. Every city that has a robust rail system also has a robust bus system. The two work together.

        Your infatuation with rail ignores where one mode makes sense and the other doesn’t. This is an idea discussed in great length by transit experts whose life mission is to educate the average citizen on transit matters. Yet you continue to blather on about how buses are appropriate only in the “Third World”, ignoring all of this. Would it kill you to do a little research? Here, let me help:

        https://humantransit.org/2011/02/sorting-out-rail-bus-differences.html
        https://humantransit.org/2011/03/rail-bus-differences-contd.html
        https://humantransit.org/2009/12/bus-vs-rail-an-oversimplified-comparison.html
        https://humantransit.org/2009/11/bus-rapid-transit-notes-from-a-pro.html
        https://humantransit.org/2010/08/dissent-of-the-week-my-alleged-bias-against-rail.html

        or maybe just read this one:

        https://humantransit.org/2014/10/quote-of-the-week-rail-is-only-part-of-the-equation.html

        Those are just some of the articles found on just one blog! You can find similar articles written by other experts all over the place. Dude, modal infatuation is stupid. There is no perfect mode for every situation. The key to making a good modal choice is figuring out where one mode makes sense and when it doesn’t. But that pales in comparison to the importance of proper planning. Just look at the article, but substitute “streetcar” for “monorail” in the last paragraph:

        https://humantransit.org/2012/03/toronto-and-sydney-triumphs-for-network-planning-not-just-light-rail.html

      10. Bus ridership in Portland would likely be lower without MAX. For example, Interstate Avenue would still be struggling with capacity issues on the 5, which really couldn’t do much more with buses. Service hours were invested elsewhere when MAX yellow line came.

        Yeah, bus ridership often goes up when you build a good subway. Not only because agencies can move their routes around, but also because so many trips become a lot faster, even if they are two seat rides. Lake City to Capitol Hill, for example, is now a very reasonable trip via transit because of U-Link (and it will get easier as the train goes further north).

        But I doubt if building light rail was the only approach that would have worked for Portland. Walker suggests otherwise, at the tail end of this essay: https://humantransit.org/2009/11/brisbane-bus-rapid-transit-soars.html. It is quite possible that Portland could have done well with a bus tunnel and a branch and trunk system involving additional busways. Walker makes clear that he isn’t sure he would have gone that route (I’m not sure either) — but I think it is worth pointing out that rail is not the only thing that could have made things better. Again, it often just comes down to trade-offs, and where it is more appropriate or not. The more “express” your trips are, the more that busways in a trunk and branch system make sense. The more you have a string of high density destinations, the more a subway line makes sense. The Northgate Link set of stops (Northgate, Roosevelt, UW, Capitol Hill and the forgotten station at First Hill) clearly falls into the latter category, while West Seattle falls into the former.

      11. Different tools for different fools:

        “Portland Streetcar’s peak ridership is mid-day (11-4pm), in contrast to most transit systems which see ridership peaks during morning and evening rush hour. As such, Portland
        Streetcar emphasizes its role as a circulator by providing frequent service throughout the day so
        users can depend on its availability to run an errand, go to class, or commute to work.”

        https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/573729

      12. “Portland Streetcar is used to provide a “single-seat” connection and
        much needed circulation within the central city and surrounding neighborhoods; 85% of all TriMet trips cross the streetcar line today. “

      13. “Streetcar vehicles are larger than buses, but smaller than light
        rail. Streetcars can fit within an urban context and require far less space and separation than a typical light rail system. They can operate in dedicated lanes
        or share space with automobiles on major roads. In Portland, we use light rail and buses to serve longer commute trips and to connect our central city to suburbs and regional destinations. “

      14. The cars ordered by those in the USA are smaller. They can be ordered to pretty much any length or width desired because some cities have very narrow streets.

        The reality is that nobody outside the USA has ordered the preposterously small cars being used in Seattle or Portland in probably 25 years. If you properly design your streetcar line to attract large numbers of passengers, then you need a bigger car design.

        The most common streetcar designs ordered by operators in Europe today are longer than single Link cars.

      15. Seattle’s next batch will be a bit longer hence the repair shop reconfiguration issue. I’m not sure what Portland’s two new lines will use, anybody’s guess.

    1. Or we could achieve real estate and economic development goals AND have a high-quality surface transportation system that works for riders. Like how transit was built 100 years ago or in other countries.

      I don’t understand why these have to be mutually exclusive. Yet many of the streetcar lines built lately around the country manage to totally ignore the part about building a line that works for riders with their twisting, looping lines that serve little purpose but riding for the hell of it.

  4. I think the whole Kent/Sound Transit/Dicks kerfuffle has kinda been overblown and exaggerated as to what’s going on and seeing a lot of misguided anger towards ST on this. Like, this is merely a proposal and information gathering stage, it’s not been decided at all as to what they’re doing for OMF South and likely won’t for a year or two.
    I also think Dicks could’ve been better about this situation as well in saying “we’re working with ST to address this issue.”.
    I think this whole thing will likely blow over in a few weeks, but I know some are not gonna forgive them for wanting to destroy the new location for a Seattle “institution”

    1. Yeah I don’t get the uproar. It’s a chain restaurant in an architecturally insignificant, cheaply-built, new building. Give them suitable cash to build elsewhere nearby or incorporate the restaurant into a nearby station design — and be done with it!

    2. Kent’s efforts to sabotage Sounder pre-date Dick’s boss throwing a tantrum over not being told these plans were on the books. Auburn cooperated with adding tracks. Kent fought it. Dick’s may actually be a victim in this spat.

    3. Kent upzoned an urban village around the station. That’s more than Des Moines did. Kent’s support for urban housing may be lackluster downtown and nonexistent on East Hill, but at least it’s doing something, which is more than you can say about most South King County cities.

      1. Since I live in TOD next to Kent Station, I have no clue what the history is, but it does seem rather odd to consider putting a base at one of the few places where south King Link is not just in the midst of I-5.

    4. Frankly, I wish I could keep my mouth shut on this one. But the Spady Family is like another family very close to my Skagit home – when they get involved, they get involved until conclusion.

      Already Saul Spady has made clear either this site is taken off the map or an initiative to elect the Sound Transit Board by district will be put forward. I have zero doubts in the new KTTH host and #NoTaxOnJobs hero to get the signatures. Problem is, even I’m not too enthused about the idea of a Sound Transit Board that won’t have opportunities for currently elected officials (e.g. King County Councilmembers Badassuchi, Upthegrove) nor one for a token rest-of-state at large position. Plus who here wants Badassuchi to be replaced by some Eastside Transportation Association member and possibly more who will take marching orders from the SoDo Kremlin (aka Washington Policy Centre)? NOT ME.

      I think giving the Spadys breathing room and some more is a wise move against the worst case scenario. We all should have got a wakey-wakey call what could happen from last November ST Board when the ST Board was down a few members and couldn’t get a prop tax levy increase passed unless the King County Exec could phone in due to the concerns of a few Pierce County members. There’s also a lot of pent up anger at Sound Transit, and not a lot of defenders of Sound Transit in the public square.

      So for the ST Boardmembers you like now – and I’m rather fond of a few of them – we’ve got to get Sound Transit to back off. We can’t negotiate the fine print once one of Saul Spady’s initiatives drop and the signature gatherers deploy… and we’ll probably be stuck with having to ask some of our Board stars to make a hell of a choice in two years. Not to mention put me in a helluva position with very personal consequences…

      We don’t have two years to remove one site from the South Rail MOA EIS. We have one, maybe two months.

      There you go.

    5. I suspect Dick’s is making this an issue only to protect the 6 acres they own behind the new restaurant. They bought it knowing they could flip it to a developer if/when Kent rezoned the land with a new station nearby. They would get less money if ST claimed it through eminent domain rather than selling to the highest bidder with a rezone.

      1. Considering the City Government of Kent is staging a public hearing (show trial) in a few weeks, I’m all for Sound Transit backing off of this particular site. Other sites available.

        That said, there is standing strong against municipal government pressure, and there is picking a fight with someone in Saul Spady who has a proven track record of winning concessions via the initiative process. I mean getting the Seattle City Council to fold before the initiative is put on the ballot? Wow.

        Yes, I want a directly elected Sound Transit Board. Now that Safe Seattle leadership are joining the fight, I have a bad feeling what kind of new Board structure we’ll get – Senator O’Ban’s, not mine. With very, very long term consequences.

        Pick & choose your battles. The tax on jobs defeat isn’t Sound Transit’s to avenge. That’s my message.

    6. Regardless of your feelings about whether Dick’s makes good burgers…it is kind of silly that Sound Transit would propose locating their maintenance facility within the 1/2 mile walkshed of the Station, especially when the surrounding area is zoned in a way that would allow for a higher use. This is one of the few suburban stations that could actually be built up. Probably a very long time from now, but still.

      1. How far out does it need to be to meet the need?

        Putting it on pylons above the existing Metro bus base right along the line would be tempting, but they’d have to run a lot of reverse peak trips to get the trains where they’re needed.

  5. I’m a bit disappointed in Dear Old Jay. His position is correct on no new CCC without LR, but he basically defends his position by saying “Oregon insists on it, so must agree.”

    Na, the correct position is that LR to Vancouver makes total sense for a variety of reasons that matter directly to Vancouverites and the residents of Clark County.

    Plus most Vancouverites support LR. It’s just the radical right in Clark Count that sunk Vancouver LR and with it the entire CCC.

    Grow some big ones Jay! Say you support it because it makes sense, and then don’t look back. Don’t be afraid of those R’s.

  6. I don’t know. What I think is a real downer for both Portland and Seattle is this stair-case fixation. Takes forever to get anywhere, and great effort is doubtless being spent to cover up number of fatal falls.

    But thing really getting to me is the needless amount of unhappiness over projects like the CCC which as yet have not one presence in the mechanical world. Think the First Avenue length is a mistake? Fine. Let’s see how you’d handle service if it was your call.

    Because if Seattle’s transit history shows nothing else since WWII is how long “the mean-time” is. All that trolleywire on First is still alive, isn’t it? Still used for “Base Routes”, right? So why not use it for real?

    Doubt anybody’d put up any fight at all about wiring First through Belltown to join the West Queen Anne wire past Broad. All I would ask is some details about how to design the bus service so streetcars can be added in the future.

    Because my bet is that that approach will also give you a better transit street, whether railcars are ever added or not. As for travel speed through Downtown Portland, it’s such a beautiful city that walking pace is just fine.

    Though if simple set of flashing lights could excuse the streetcars from stop signs, especially two blocks short of my coffee stop before I need to catch my train, wouldn’t mind a couple cent fare increase to cover the light bulbs and electricity.

    So for Seattle, we’re way overdue for an illustrated posting on a CCC-Free First.

    Mark

  7. Come to think of it, the battery package on our new trolleybuses will doubtless let drivers drop poles and just motor up and down the unwired blocks of First between Virginia and Broad.

    “Wiring pans” at first convenient stop- aren’t there already some around the city? Think I’ve said before that I think our new trolleybuses might also be able to run the Waterfront wire-free. Recharging when they’re back under wire. And safely negotiating crossing the BN tracks too.

    So it’s definitely time for some pressure to restore Belltown service to avenues besides Third. Always thought their total removal from the other avenues was a major mistake. So at least do First.

    Mark

  8. And while we’re onto CCC-related alternatives, for thirty years there’s been trolleywire HANGING IN PLACE to carry Colman Dock passengers from First and Marion to Columbia to Second to the King County Courthouse! And the whole rest of Seattle’s trolleywire network. Maybe single-seat ride to Lake Washington if Route 3 wire can also access the Route 2 wire at 34th and Union up in Madrona.

    I’d put completion at one day’s work. So to take advantage of the fact that we now have the Social Media which the mid 1980’s lacked, for the sake of every Cripe in the city (I think they’re in the crow family) can’t we just crowd-source the money to get that wire into service?!

    Can one of Rob Johnson’s constituents get their City Councilman to call Dow Constantine Monday morning to just get it done? Online gambling probably [OG/OT] but bet neither elected official will have a clue what you’re talking about. Also bring the Mayor and SDOT in on it. She and Sam Zimbabwe might find this a good piece of on-site positivity in a trying time.

    Mark Dublin

    1. As someone who works down there, i wish they could do something to get public transportation up that hill, but it looks like it won’t happen now until the streetcar is done. I know, we all should be able to walk it.

  9. And that’s First to Cherry to Second to James. Been a long day at the end of a lot longer thirty years. Thanks for great posting today.

    Mark

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