This is an open thread.

81 Replies to “News Roundup: Exceeding Expectations”

  1. Kent… you are killing me. No burger joint is worth fighting for, “tooth and nail.” How about compromising? Help ST & Dick’s find a vacant corner of land somewhere (come on, there are a few, and Dick’s doesn’t require a huge parcel) so they can relocate. Build relocation costs into the cost of that parcel.

    This is a symptom of the bigger problem that you can’t actually do public service in local government unless you are wealthy or retired. Kent (and most other suburbs) pay their councilmembers peanuts, but then expect them to be on committee after committee after committee and attend numerous meetings during the average person’s workday. So it ends up being a bunch of old men with beer guts and white hair who grew up in an era when the dream was to have three kids, a dog, a rambler with a red upholstered booth next to a bar in the basement, work a union job at Boeing, and own three cars (one per adult plus a sports car). I have a family member who served on a council for 7 years and had to give it up to go back to work in his late 60s because he found that those 7 years without a full-time paycheck killed him financially. Until we start treating suburban city councils for cities with 50,000 plus people as full time jobs, or allowing them to delegate literally all of their committee positions, we will be stuck with has-beens who don’t understand the reality of 2019. And we’ll continue fighting tooth and nail for a burger bar, to the detriment of the next generation.

    1. I still like the Midway Landfill site better. But……… it really is just a burger bar. We need to compromise.

    2. Well, I think Kent is more interested in keeping that land for TOD. I’m actually really surprised ST wants this prime real estate location for O&M. Hmm it makes too much sense for me to just pick the landfill site? Am I missing something? Sure, it might cost a little more for cleanup, but still…it’s an underutilized giant parcel of land right along the light rail tracks. Why pick a spot where a city zoned it for TOD?

      1. Dick’s wants the light rail stop as close their store as possible. Look at the UW, Lake City, and Broadway locations. All near major arterials and freeways. They know full well that you need feet to sell fast food meat.

        Kent/Des Moines? They’re being obstructionist. Dick’s? They’re about the masses. They just want to be in the thick of the TOD. In the end, isn’t this what STB wants? Unapologetically urban focused and oriented companies, practically begging to be built around?

      2. TOD in that location? I’m not seeing it. Who wants to live next to a former landfill and a bunch of RV parks? I’ll believe it when I see it.

      3. Chris, I’ve seen trailor parks turned in to actual parks and superfund sites being covered with “planned communities” of high rise condos. Things change when an area suddenly becomes more desirable.

      4. Chris,
        There are a lot of jobs in that area. Take a look at an aerial of the Kent Valley, east of the site – industrial and retail. Then keep in mind that Seatac has 19,000 badged employees, just a few stops away. If your job involves lots of air travel, that would be a fantastic location. (A friend flew somewhere different about every week for work when he lived here. A family member travels internationally every couple of weeks.) Federal Way, in the other direction, is heavily office and retail. Highline College is next door. If one spouse works in Seattle and the other in Tacoma, it is a good compromise, as well.
        No, it isn’t convenient to downtown Seattle. But not everybody has downtown as the center of their life, either. I’ve lived in King County for 14 years. I’ve never worked downtown. I’ve only shopped downtown twice – IN MY LIFE. These days, I only ever go to downtown Seattle for work, when a meeting is required. Capitol Hill is a once or twice a year affair. And I can count on my hand the number of times I’ve been to U District in the past 5 years, although I used to live there. On the other hand, Federal Way is a weekly trip for shopping, we enjoy the beaches in both Federal Way and Tacoma (Owens, Dash Point) throughout the summer (just like Seattlites enjoy Alki), and I’m in Tacoma 5 to 7 days a week, both for work and fun. I personally think that I can find better Asian food on SR 99 in Federal Way than I can in International District, and the independent bookstores and coffee shops in Tacoma have survived, unlike their counterparts in Seattle. Plus, as long as Amazon stays away, it is affordable.

    3. What Kent needs to do is backstop the cost of cleaning up the landfill so that ST isn’t stuck with an enormous bill if the estimates turn out to be wrong and it has unanticipated contamination or leakage later. If ST is to choose the site as a public service to the community, it shouldn’t be treated like “Tough luck, sucker, you bought it so it’s your responsibility now”, especially when that means cutting other transit service or extending the term of ST3 or going back to voters — which detractors would say is a sign that ST is incompetent and wasteful and our ST taxes are high enough already.

    4. There’s something very suspiciously odd about the Lowe’s Midway property. I just checked the assessor records. It’s assessed value has been steady or dropping for the last several years. That makes no sense at all.

    5. It’s not about the Dick’s. It’s about the land under and around the Dick’s, which is zoned for TOD to create a vibrant new neighborhood. I grew up south of there, and I went to school at Highline College. TOD would be great there. Not an OMF. The landfill is a no-brainer.

      1. There are many problems with the landfill for a rail maintenance facility. Unstable land, methane venting, etc. You need a very stable foundation for this maintenance work.

      2. I agree. Dicks is really a side issue. The area is ripe for TOD. It won’t become South Lake Union, Capitol Hill or even Roosevelt, but it could easily become Ash Way. That would be good for everyone. It would mean more people have housing in general, but especially close to a rail station. It would mean a better tax base for Kent. The ideal location for the rail yard is at the landfill. The only question is whether it is worth the extra money. As Mike said, you not only have the cost of the cleanup, but the cost of insurance to cover overruns. If that can be worked out between ST, Kent and the county, then it would be ideal.

    6. It’s about redeveloping the large Lowe’s site between the station and Dick’s. The Dick’s lot would be upzoned too, but it’s less of an issue whether it actually redevelops soon because it’s a small lot and five blocks from the station. (For a Broadway comparison, it’s akin to Mercer Street which is close to the edge of the village.)

    7. I agree, it’s time to pay local government electeds what they’re worth. If and possibly when we get a directly elected Sound Transit Board, it’s important those positions pay six figures and also have offices that serve as caseworkers or something like that…. but I’m going off on a pet tangent.

      My point being: It might be better to reduce council sizes somewhat in return for paying for quality representation.

  2. Newsome just being Newsome. Nothing is changing in CAHSR’s plans from what has been in play for the last 1-2 years. Newsome is only posturing to act like he has a better handle on the system than his predecessor.

    A HSR line from Merced to Bakersfield connecting to ACE, BART and San Joaquins has always been the intermediate plan until cash can be found for the expensive tunneling needed for Pacheco and the San Gabriels.

    CAHSR has 6 years or 2 Federal administrations to come up with fed money. Green New Deal anybody?

      1. hmmm…How is Bakersfield, Fresno and Merced (163 miles) at 200mph the same as Puyallup to Auburn? Also consider that ACE and San Joaquins will be connecting with 70-110 mph speeds.

      2. Once you figure in average wait time at each connection and each point of origin, what is the travel time and average speed (factoring in 0 mph while waiting) from downtown SF to downtown LA?

      3. Your missing my point, Newsome isn’t saying anything that hasn’t been said already, in fact, this is exactly what the CAHSR Business plan has in it. 70 billion is not bucket change and therefor requires a piecemeal approach. In 2008 Californians realized they wouldn’t be able to build a complete system but thought best to integrate with other lines until the monies became available. An IOS of 163 miles in addition to 70-110 mph connecting lines in key urban areas is a first good step and is required by PROP 1. There is nothing in what Newsome has said that contradicts PROP 1. Cap & Trades only assures money for the valley, there is a need to start showing revenue service otherwise lose public support, avoid FED paybacks and violating PROP1.

        BTW, the actual average is 32 mps. I guessed 40 would be good for wait time, maybe a few more mins?

      4. Yeah more like Ellensburg to Spokane or maybe Ellensburg to Moses Lake — except with 900K people in both counties!

      5. I see your argument there. But the CAHSR initial segment through the Central Valley has several million people along the line. (Fresno – 1 million, Bakersfield – 1 million, about a half million other people spread around the rail line). So the high speed rail won’t be going through all farms and small towns. I half-jokingly told my husband that we will need to go on a vacation to Fresno and Bakersfield once the line is complete. :)

        I wonder why CA can’t just do a half-cent sales tax initiative to fund it? I read in a financial times article that’s all it would take to fully fund the entire line. Maybe just LA and SF can tax themselves to complete it. I wonder if these options are being explored. LA voters overwhelmingly passed Measure M in 2016 – a half cent sales tax increase that’d generate $120 billion for transportation projects.

      6. @JK
        I’ve always been of the belief that if the state and feds could get the highly “toxic” Valley line completed the urban endpoints could finish up on their own.

        What will happen is Virgin will build from Vegas to Palmdale. LA will team up with Virgin to build from Palmdale into LA.

        ACE will prove itself as such a valuable connection to Merced to the point where San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento and SJ will all abandon Pacheco and choose to beef up Altamont.

        State will only need worry about Bakersfield to Palmdale.

      7. Brent,

        The San Joaquin trains will run through; there won’t be transfers. ACE is planning to extend to Merced using the UP ROW because that’s where the towns are, so yes that will require a transfer, but ACE is for commuters, not intercity rail. Few folks will commute to Silicon Valley from south of Merced via its round-about route. It’s going to be a 1-1/2 hour ride from there, with a transfer at the end to get to work.

        The San Joaquins will just step up from the parallel BNSF right of way to the HSR tracks. Even with the current equipment they can run 110 in separated right of way, especially with no freight interference.

        The run through Fresno alone will save nearly ten minutes by eliminating eight or ten miles of urban grade crossings. Using the HSR right of way, even just to Merced, will put Bakersfield nearly an hour closer to the Bay and Sacramento.

      8. If there are through trains or coordinated transfers, that’s better than just riding isolated trains that nobody from the big cities can get to. HSR is supposed to run all day like Caltrain, hourly or so. If you get to Fresno and ACE runs only twice a day in the AM peak and none on weekends, then that’s going to be like the awful Greyhound service we have between the cities and it’s not going to attract riders.

      9. @Mike There are currently 8 San Joaquins running each way to future HSR cities (Merced, Fresno, Hanford and Bakersfield).

        There will be 7 ACE trains involved in Merced operations upon Phase II completion.

        I imagine demand will maybe double or triple given the higher speeds and the added access to ACE destinations for Fresno and Hanford (maybe some Bakersfield folks) travelers?

      10. If they can tunnel through to Palmdale in phase 2, are there plans to run DMU services from LA all the way to Oakland as an interim step? Are there any DMUs out there that can do 150mph?

      11. @Tom
        “The San Joaquin trains will run through; there won’t be transfers….The San Joaquins will just step up from the parallel BNSF right of way to the HSR tracks”

        How is this going to work if the San Joaquin trains have stops that aren’t part of HSR. They will have to get a separate set of trains for express service. Why not just buy “true” HSR trains?

      12. @Chris There will have to be a Palmdale transfer until they burrow through the San Gabriels. It would be an intersection of Metrolink, Virgin and HSR. I just don’t see California able to concurrently fund the mega tunnels of the San Gabriels along with funding the Bakersfield-Palmdale section.

      13. Mike, service with HSR trains won’t begin immediately. As Brent pointed out, there’s little time saved rushing for 150 miles to a transfer. It makes much more sense to run the standard equipment through.

        If you want to run all-electric on the HSR segment, get dual mode locomotives like the New Haven and New York Central used to run. Somebody (e.g. “Siemens”) would be glad to make them.

        As for ACE, it runs several trains during each rush hour, all in the peak direction. However, its trackway, while completely renewed, still is extremely windy and slow over Altamount. Nobody is going to commute from anywhere south of Merced, at least, not using ACE.

      14. Les, I expect they’ll have platforms at the smaller cities that the San Joaquins will continue to serve and that once the HSR line is extended to San Jose, if that happens, the HSR trains will begin service and simply not stop at those platforms. This happens all over Europe.

      15. (continued) The platforms at minor stops may have sidings to keep people waiting away from the HSR trains passing and to get the slower “all stops” trains out of the way.

      16. @Tom

        Maybe you can help me understand why they want to put one of those temp platforms in Bakersfield when it is deemed a long term HSR destination. I know they screwed up by planning for a HSR station quite a distance from the San Joaquin Station, but then to go ahead and put a temp platform baffles me.

    1. We need to find a way to get costs under control. That also applies to ST3 and transit projects throughout the country. These projects can not be costing exponentially more than in Europe or Canada. The contractors and consultants need to be held in line, as does the scope creep which is one of the biggest issues. I’ve been following CAHSR on Instagram and it blows me away what they’ve built… huge rebuilt freeway interchanges, they’ve practically rebuilt Highway 99 alongside the new route and yet not a single mile of track for HSR.

      There will be no Green New Deal. AOC is toxic. HSR needs to run as far away as possible to being tied to that dumpster fire… Rebuild all buildings in a decade, eliminate airplanes? What a total laughing stock.

      1. It’s the same with healthcare, due to various peculiarities in American laws and regulations. as well as the power of balkanized metropolitan cities and what they demand. the contradtors and consultants are probably only a small part of it, at least outside places like New York and Chicago with a lot of corruption. Other countries and cities treat transit as a basic need and just do it. American environmental regulations new rail lines as a negative impact that must be mitigated, and that drives up the cost, and the process gives several levels an effective veto over it.

      2. Air travel will have to largely cease as carbon is eliminated from human activity. There will be some still, but it has to be massively limited.

        We’ve got 12 years at best to stop all carbon emissions. Air travel has to be one of the first things on the chopping block, along with the entire fossil fuel industry and everything it supports. There’s no ‘that’s too difficult a change’ anymore, we do this or we get destroyed as a species by ecosystem collapse and climate change. All other considerations are moot.

        The transformation will either be unprecedented or we die.

  3. “going hard after the Center City Connector” is a misleading statement. From the article it sounds like she is going after CAF. Big difference!

    1. Instead of “going after” the vendor, why don’t we enlarge the order so that we don’t spend nine figures on track reconstruction for a line that will only come every 10 minutes, at best, (probably less frequently once they realize there are still lots of traffic obstacles) for half of its path length?

      Did the vendor fail to meet our specs, or did we give them them incomplete specs? And might it not be cheaper to just start the order from scratch?

      1. 10 mins? CCC was suppose to be two overlapping lines, one from SLUT to Jackson and the other from Westlake to Broadway. The overlapping part will have more frequent times than 10 mins.

      2. Yes, the overlapping part will have 5-minute headway. But the parts that have not done well with 10ish-minute headway will be boosted only because there are longer trips available.

        With the outer parts running every 10 minutes and connecting with 5-minute headway mass transit, the system will be anachronistic before it even opens.

        The Broadway Streetcar could have drawn a lot more ridership if it only had a fleet.

        A system that will cost a quarter billion, cheaps out on fleet (a little over a million per car), and then can’t compete with walking for most of its trips… What is the point? A few million more doubles the utility of the line. Okay, larger barns will be necessary, but the politicians would rather kick that can down the road, so we’re stuck with a half-a service plan.

        And then one of the streetcars gets t-boned, and voila, we’re down to 12-minute headway, during peak, on a portion of the line. Don’t just make this a jobs program. Make it a real high-frequency transit line.

      3. Ten minutes for a train at the edges is not the best. Remind me again what the compelling reason to treat this as two “lines” is? Seems to me a decent compromise is run SLU – 1st Ave – ID – First Hill – Capitol Hill as a single line at 7 minute headways. Or acquire a few more trains to get to 5 minutes.

      4. Fun fact: When streetcars run every five minutes it means that on average a streetcar will pass through an intersection every 2.5 minutes.

        Since most signals already have to have enough time for pedestrians to cross resulting in at least a 30-second wait for crossing pedestrians to get across the street — unless they install those awful push buttons for pedestrians.

        Keep in mind that streetcars will operate in both directions, which means signal timing can’t really be sequenced to get through several signals at a time.

        In other words, it’s virtually impossible for any signal priority to be useful or even practical on this route.

        It’s going to stop at lots of red lights.

      5. @AJ — No it won’t, but it will shatter the myth that these have five minute headways. If one train is delayed, then they won’t come every five minutes in the overlapping section. Since delays are routine on the Capitol Hill section, this means that northbound service on First Avenue will be spotty, at best. It is quite possible that you will see a streetcar immediately followed by another streetcar, followed by a ten minute wait before the next streetcar. You have neither the consistency of a completely grade separated line, nor the mass of vehicles that you have with a street like Second, let alone Third Avenue. This makes it far less appealing than the other options that are a block or two away.

    2. It wouldn’t hurt to start planning the Mercer to SODO line now and commit to transit lanes for most of it (except the few blocks around Yesler where the street is too narrow). That would make the CCC a more worthwhile investment.

    3. What’s not coming across in this discussion is the actual kind of streetcar line that will result when the First Hill Line, the Central City Connector, and the South Lake Union Streetcar are finally end-to-end connected. A ride that will get a lot of favorable mention in travel magazines as a reason to visit Seattle.

      Seattle will have a streetcar line that will enable passengers to enjoy an attractive streetcar ride for its own sake- which also happens to pass through the parts of Seattle of most interest to visitors in three consecutive business and entertainment districts. Broadway, the International District, Pioneer Square, Pike Place Market, Westlake, and South Lake Union.

      It’s the opposite of “point to point” travel. Get on. Ride. Get off and look at a jacket. Next stop, a bookstore, and a cafe. The whole International District. For a whole morning. Seeing things about Seattle you’d never so conveniently find on foot alone. The smooth linear motion of the car itself grants best window shopping of any transit mode.

      And after lunch at the Annapurna Cafe (or Dick’s Drive-in) elevate or de-escalate quickly to Link for your ride to your hotel, Colman Dock, or your flight back to Gothenburg. While, especially if you’re an American family first time on transit, about to find out that whatever the grownups were doing, everybody in grade school knows why streetcars are just better and so there. For a lifetime of voting.

      It’s good that Lisa Herbold is doing her due diligence. Nothing valuable is cheap. But my “call” is that since George Benson’s carline is his for Eternity, since the new line will happen on her watch, no surprise if she gets it named after her.

      Mark Dublin

    4. The CCC really should have been sold as the First Avenue Transitway. And by that, run a dedicated transit-only route on 1st shared by the streetcar and buses such as the Rapid Rides to West Seattle. It would have benefited much more of the city and wouldnt have generated anywhere near the opposition. Plus once youve got a dedicated transit lanes you want to run multiple lines on it to use it and justify the dedicated lane so dont just run streetcars. We need more north-south capacity through downtown for buses. It drives me nuts such a narrow scope was given to the CCC.

  4. The December ST Monthly Ridership Report for December 2018 is posted:

    https://www.soundtransit.org/sites/default/files/documents/monthly-service-performance-report-201812.pdf

    It shows only a 1.0 percent growth in average weekday ridership for Link, compared to the prior December. It shows a 7.8 percent growth for Sounder.

    It’s also got year-to-date data, which also makes it a draft annual ridership report.

    Total Link ridership grew by 6.1 percent in aggregate, and Sounder grew by 5.5 percent.

    1. Thanks for the heads up. I had been awaiting the December report to see how ST finished up the year (before the Q4, year-end report is officially released), but then mother nature distracted our region with several routine-altering snow events. Lol.

      As I suspected would happen a couple of months ago, ST missed their targets for Link total annual ridership as well as average riders per trip. Additionally, it still looks like the agency is averse to using the red ink where it applies in their ridership tables. Hmmmm.

      Thanks again for the link to the monthly report.

  5. Mike O’Brien not running again, per Erica B.’s tweets. Curious to see if the new member would have any chance to relocate the Ballard station/fight for the tunnel money.

  6. Transit etiquette … Mudede is wrong about two things. It is perfectly ok to have a cell conservation on public transit. And it’s ok to place a bag on a seat, as long as the bus or train isn’t full. He should have listed as no-no’s bathroom tasks (flossing, clipping nails, etc.), and eating. People will stand at a bus stop for 15 minutes holding a sandwich, but only start eating it once they are seated. Eat while you’re standing there waiting, you dope!

    And thank you to Buschick for shoveling snow from bus stops over the last few days. The local transit community needs more doers. One citizen shoving snow at a bus stop is worth a billion words barfed-up in comment sections about light rail in Ballard.

  7. So the CCC is turning into Seattle’s own version of the 99 Tunnel, where nobody really knows the scope and magnitude for cost, time, engineering or usage and we won’t know until opening day and beyond.

  8. The Midway landfill is <a href="https://cumulis.epa.gov/supercpad/cursites/csitinfo.cfm?id=1000851&quot; a Superfund site and building there could require tens or even hundreds of millions in additional mitigation work, if it could even be made safe at all. It would likely require drilling columns hundreds of feet deep through soft trash in order to hit bedrock sufficient to put the facility effectively on stilts. And then you have to deal with poison gases such as methane that may pose unacceptable health risks to workers. That mitigation money needs to come from somewhere, and South King isn’t exactly flowing with cash. That’s why ST will study it.

    I get why people are nostalgic for the Dick’s brand, but it’s a month old, the facility won’t be built for a few years, it’s one site of several being studied, and if push came to shove Kent could ask ST to rebuild Dick’s on a nearby parcel, or even build several of them elsewhere for funsies. But for the love of God let ST make regional transit decisions costing many millions of dollars based on improving transit outcomes, not cheeseburgers.

    1. Dick’s could be redesigned into a multistory building with housing on top and a parking lot layout more inviting to walk-in from the sidewalk. The Broadway location has two narrow parking aisles on the sides and more in back, and a pedestrian eating area adjacent to the sidewalk and counter, and it could theoretically have housing above the entire restaurant and parking lot.

      And Dick’s could take the “Drive-In” out of its name.

    2. I regret that the conversation has become about Dick’s, when the conversation should be about the irreplaceable and unnecessary loss of a very limited resource – land zoned for transit oriented development within very close proximity to a light rail station. Yes Dick’s sits on the SW corner of the area Kent has zoned for TOD, and that is upsetting to Dick’s and fans of Dick’s, but the real problem would be forever losing the opportunity to build a dense walkable neighborhood near the light rail station. It is doubly regrettable when we learn there is a vacant publically-owned brownfield primed for subsidized redevelopment (for an OMF, hopefully!), literally immediately to the south. Sincerely, Dennis Higgins, Kent City Council Member

  9. I’m curious why a yard under the flight path at Sea-Tac, connecting just south of Angle Lake Station, isn’t on the list? Is it too far from end-of-track?

    1. I’ve been saying all along that the location decision near KDM/Highline College seems very arbitrary. Clearly, there is a backroom story here and no one has widely revealed it. It needs investigating. Is corruption involved? Is a senior staff person or elected official getting personal financial gain or campaign funding, for example?

      I too have suggested looking at flight path properties. They’d be way cheaper.

      I’ve also suggested that an OMF in Fife or East Tacoma would seem to make more operational sense unless ST has a secret operations plan to terminate half of the trains north of Federal Way. The land would also be much cheaper there.

      1. yes, a Link base further south would seem to reduce dead head time and cost.

        yes, I am guessing the Murray-Kubly SDOT made CCC Streetcar mistakes and not the vendor. SDOT selected streetcars with different length, weight, motor placement, and they require different maintenance bases, leading to tens of millions of additional cost. note the whole project is only to shift downtown transit circulation trips to streetcar from bus, when the former cost several million per vehicle, so it will be quite costly to provide service frequency, the most important factor in attracting ridership.

  10. When a snow plow plows a street, that snow ends up on sidewalks, making them unusable for many pedestrians and almost all disabled people.

    Original observation by Sam.

    1. A guy at work from Everett-land said a couple of his neighbors shoveled their sidewalks and piled up all the snow on their neighbors’ lots. Talk about looking out for number one.

      I have not seen street plowing making the sidewalks less safe.

      1. That’s so rude. If either of my neighbors tried that I woudn’t hesitate to go have a word with them. Thankfully my neighbors aren’t total aholes like the ones whose inconsiderate snow removal actions you’ve described.

        Snow plows CAN certainly pile up snow on sidewalks/pedestrian pathways, particularly in areas along a road/street that doesn’t have a planting strip between the roadway and the sidewalk. There are many, many examples of that around my neck of the woods up here in SW SnoCo (Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mukilteo, etc.).

  11. There’s probably no end to the amount of finger-pointing to be done about the lack of sidewalk shoveling over the past week-plus. An especially unfortunate example that I noticed was the lack of clear sidewalks adjacent to all of the many vacant, Sound Transit-owned lots along MLK. I’m sure that clearing these sidewalks was low on the list of ST’s priorities during and just after the storms, but by now, you’d think they could have sent someone out to clear a path. These are obviously important walking routes for station access. Collectively, these properties represent a substantial amount of frontage on MLK. When ST does its post-mortem on the storm response, let’s hope they don’t overlook this, and make plans to improve the response next time.

    1. For a time I lived back east. The city put plow blades on its parking enforcement golf cart vehicles and plowed the sidewalks with those.

      Maybe cities should think of things other than road surface as vital transportation deserving of tax investment?

      1. Yeah. It’s not atypical for states or cities to just have a stock of blades and some on-call contracts with earth moving companies (who can’t work on snowy days usually).

        A friend in NJ tells me how it’s done there. They have s sophisticated accountability system in place.

        I wish the cities here would catch on.

    2. “When ST does its post-mortem on the storm response, let’s hope they don’t overlook this, and make plans to improve the response next time.”

      I agree. If ST still holds those properties then they have the responsibility of clearing those sidewalks just like any other property owner has during a snow event.

  12. FWIW…..

    The conference report for the mini omnibus appropriations bill which was passed in the Senate this afternoon and will be voted on shortly in the House contains the following provisions for the FTA’s CIG programs:

    “CAPITAL INVESTMENT GRANTS

    For necessary expenses to carry out fixed guideway capital investment grants under section 5309 of title 49, United States Code, and section 3005(b) of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, $2,552,687,000, to remain available until September 30, 2022: Provided,
    That of the amounts made available under this heading, $2,169,783,950 shall be obligated by December 31, 2020: Provided further, That of the amounts made available under this heading, $1,265,670,000 shall be available for projects authorized under section 5309(d) of title 49, United States Code, $635,000,000 shall be available for projects authorized under section 5309(e) of title 49, United States Code, $526,500,000 shall be available for projects authorized under section 5309(h) of title 49, United States Code, and $100,000,000 shall be available for projects authorized under section 3005(b) of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act: Provided further, That the Secretary shall continue to administer the capital investment grants program in accordance with the procedural and substantive requirements of section 5309 of title 49, United States Code, and of section 3005(b) of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act.”

    The entire section related to the FTA begins on page 63 of the Division G section (the THUD piece), or roughly page 1021 of the entire report.

    P.S. I’ve tried to correct the typos in the report for readability but I may have missed one or two.

  13. This short video about the history of the Shinkansen is really good, the Shinkansen also had many doubters and huge budget overruns and upon opening totally changed people’s minds overnight…

    Why This Train Is The Envy Of The World: The Shinkansen Story

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  15. Your headline, “Kent digging in on saving Dick’s” is inaccurate and not helpful. And I’m sure you know better.
    The issue is paving over half of the area available for TOD near the KDM light rail station with an OMF that could and should go literally anywhere else. For example there is a great site just to the south that will cost nothing or next to nothing to acquire. And yes that particular site may pose an additional challenge – a challenge that needs to be met, rather than losing 30 acres of irreplaceable TOD land. Sincerely, Dennis Higgins, Kent City Council Member

    1. The site is already mostly pavement, and OMF facilities actually don’t need much pavement. They are almost always gravel with storage tracks, and include maintenance buildings. You might want to do more homework on this.

      1. Let me restate. We don’t want to lose any of the land we have zoned for Transit Oriented Development to an Operations/ Maint. Facility. Pardon me for using a figure of speech … it matters not whether it is paved or gravel – it is a huge wasted opportunity to build a dense transit oriented neighborhood near one of the region’s very-limited number of light rail stations. Especially when there is a vacant brownfield site immediately to the south.

      2. NYC has apartments/schools built on top of subway yards (see the Pitkin and Lenox yards for example), why can you not do the same in Kent? What’s so special about this lot that you can’t build over the OMF?

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