RapidRides on 2nd Avenue

If you’re like me, you’ve lost track of all the near-term projects that were supposed to get downtown through a period with multiple disruptive construction projects. It doesn’t help that there’s a near-term set of improvements and other longer-range plans that one can confuse.

Luckily, the City Council mandated that SDOT provide a quarterly report on how the near-term OCC stuff is doing. Here’s a summary of the bus stuff:

  • 5th/6th bus lanes: two blocks on 5th and eight on 6th, done and on-budget.
  • Montlake Triangle: shorter walking distances, a short bus lane, and better turns for buses: on schedule for September. UPDATE: Metro says they’re not going to have buses using these till March 2020.
  • a one-block 4th bus lane and one queue jump: delayed from March to June due to building construction; added savings will get us another queue jump.
  • 2nd/4th signal improvements to speed up buses: done and on-budget.
  • 3rd Ave ORCA Readers/All-door boarding: a year late (to March 2020) and $3m overbudget. “Metro and the design consultant were not familiar with SDOT’s sidewalk restoration standards.” They’re using hand-scanners for now, and savings elsewhere will cover the budget gap.
  • Bigger bus stops and rider environment improvements in Chinatown and Pioneer Square: on track for this September.

On the bike front, all three of the big downtown projects — PBLs on Pike/Pine and 4th, plus the 2nd Ave Extension bike lane — are either behind schedule or threatening to become so.

There are plenty of pedestrian and other programs as well, which you can read about in the report.

10 Replies to “How’s One Center City doing?”

  1. Rather embarrassing, after such a long lead time and so much planning and meetings and years to prepare for this, how unprepared the respective agencies were for the March 2019 change and for One City Center in general. Mitigation items 8&9 in the report, for example, should have been done before buses left the DSTT because there was plenty of time to do so.

    “Metro and the design consultant were not familiar with SDOT’s sidewalk restoration standards.”

    These standards are widely available and both should have known better considering how much work KCM performs in the SDOT ROW. And a key role of the design consultant’s job is to know the standards for the places they work.

    This is extremely frustrating and begs the question: where is the accountability?

    1. Why would the One Center City hire a firm who has blatant naïveté (and perhaps arrogant disregard) about following fundamental design requirements? Could it be that stat-struck staff hired the wrong firm for the job? Would staff ever publicly admit the mistake?

      It just goes to prove that for such jobs, a licensed and experienced design engineer lead should always be required — as opposed to an unskilled visionary.

  2. From the quarterly report:

    Montlake Triangle Improvements
    Description: Add new bus stops to Montlake Blvd to shorten the walking distance between bus zones and the UW Link station and provide a new transit lane on Montlake Blvd. Realign intersection at Pacific St and Pacific Pl to better facilitate transit turns and improve access to the UW Medical Center.
    Budget: $5,300,000
    Scheduled Implementation: September 2019
    Status: On schedule and on budget. After coordinating with the University of Washington, the scope was modified to improve ADA access around the UW Link Station in lieu of the changes to the Pacific St and Pacific Pl intersection.

    On schedule and on budget sounds good. But then:

    Improve ADA access in lieu of changes to the intersection… this is quite vague. I wonder what specific ADA improvements are envisioned, and what has become of the changes to the intersection that were previously deemed necessary to provide a transit-only left turn onto Pacific Place. Has the scope of the project changed?

    1. https://kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/programs-projects/fares-routes-and-service/~/media/depts/transportation/metro/programs-projects/north-eastside-mobility/fact-sheet-montlake-triangle.ashx

      I found a document with a diagram that clarifies the roles of the two intersections in this project. The one that provides the transit-only left turn is the intersection of Montlake / Pacific Place and improvements are still planned there. The one with the unspecified ADA improvements is Pacific St. / Pacific Place by the medical center.

      1. “Some bus routes continue using existing pathway” on Pacific.
        would like to understand which.

    2. And what does ADA access mean? Another curb ramp? If it doesn’t move the bus stops closer to the station and improve bus circulation, then it will be another project that turns out to do nothing, after a long series of those. When the 255 is truncated at UW Station, will its access to the station be no better than the current routes?

  3. So it’s now well over $6 million to install 10 ORCA readers on 3rd Ave. One would be well on his way to owning a house for the $630,000 it costs them to install one of these puppies.

    Does anyone else find this to be way expensive?

    1. No. The “costs” are much like the cost of the 2nd Avenue Bike Lane. You can’t just install an ORCA reader anywhere you think they should go, just because it would be convenient. You need lots of infrastructure support to get the electricity and other things you need to support them.

    2. Wow, $6 million? Metro budgeted $5.5 million in 2010 to install ORCA readers at all doors on the entire fleet. That would enable all-door boarding systemwide.

      Though I wonder what the dwell time difference between pre-paid all-door boarding and all-door pay on boarding would be. For very high volume stops the former might pay off in time savings.

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