The Moving All Seattle Sustainably Coalition held a forum for District 7 Seattle City Council candidates a couple months ago.

Rooted in Rights provided the video and transcript.

Participating candidates included:

Ballots need to be postmarked, turned in at a ballot drop box, or you have to be line at an accessible voting site by 8 pm on Tuesday, August 6.

This is an open thread

46 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Seattle District 7 MASS Forum”

    1. I venture to say that an ST4 done right will take more cars off the road than an ST3 and for much less the cost.

    2. That diagonal line from SLU through Wallingford and Lake City to Bothell is intriguing. It would have to continue through DSTT2 and then where would it go? It would have to go some place where there’s room to terminate it, and Rainier Valley still has the 6-minute frequency ceiling.

      I won’t speculate at this point how big ST4 will be or when, or how this compares to the suburban subareas’ priorities. The subareas probably won’t be ready to think about it until the late 2020s or 2030s, and at that point they may have different answers than they do now.

      I’ll just say that my priorities for North King now are Ballard-UW, Metro 8, something-Lake City-Bothell, and sinking MLK into a trench to increase frequency and speed. MLK could well become overcrowded when the Kent, Federal Way, and Tacoma riders arrive, and increasing capacity there could become top priority. There’s also the Georgetown bypass idea, and it would avoid interrupting an existing line during construction, but it would serve far fewer people, and it would arguably be South King’s responsibility to fund, and South King had so little interest in it ST deleted it from the long-range plan in 2014 without a whiff of objection from South King.

      1. Sound Transit has a few ideas on where it would terminate based on the Fremont studies. Also, the line is long enough it might be able to stand on its’ own merits.

        Speculation is what its all about until the time comes.

        Everybody has their own priorities. And I’m not arguing for or against an 8 line. But you start getting into the downtown hills, existing tunnels, soil conditions, large structures and etc and things start getting real dicey. I don’t dare venture to speculate here.

      2. A lot of it depends on what your objective is, removing the most cars from the road or serving special interest.

      3. My objective is getting between urban villages efficiently without a car, and having the widest variety of businesses to walk to at a Link station somewhere. That’s what allows people to live conveniently without a car, and thus allows those villages to be part of the housing solution. Ballard-UW is the densest, most walkable east-west corridor in North Seattle. The Central District is denser than 80% of Seattle. Lake City is a promising growth area, and lower cost than central Seattle, and has a lot of existing apartments near 145th.

      4. it includes not having to walk from 14th to 22nd. That’s excessive and disproportionate compared to the number of businesses per block along Ballard Ave and Market Street and the number of surrounding apartment units. The station should be within a 5-minute walk of that, as the entire history of urban neighborhoods and mass transit has shown. 14th to 15th is three blocks, not one block, so you’re looking at over a 10 minute walk to get to Ballard Ave. That defeats a lot of the purpose of building Ballard Link in the first place. It’s like making East Main the only downtown Bellevue station.

      5. … “It’s like making East Main the only downtown Bellevue station.”

        Except Ballard isn’t going to allow lots of new 20- to 40-story buildings according to current zoning.

      6. So cost between urban villages is not a factor, not miles per trip or fumes saved per trip nor subsidies per trip?
        It’s been a long time since I examined the proposed 8 line, but if memory serves me correctly, the cost of it alone would eat up an entire ST4 budget. The Ballard-UW line would do nothing for passenger miles or fumes per trip compared to the other proposed lines.

      7. We don’t know the cost because ST has never studied it, and I haven’t heard of any other comparable engineering report on it.

        The goal is to give the largest number of likely riders the broadest access to places they often go. Central Seattle has the most people, the ones most willing to take transit, and the stations that most attract shoppers/workers from outside (for two-way ridership). So all those factors weigh strongly against the cost of a tunnel. I don’t know the exact best alignment or where it could continue on each end, but that’s something worth studying.

      8. Any downtown lines will require deep tunnel stations of the expensive type. These type stations are magnitudes more than elevated stations and yet even factors more of at grade stations. But yes, by all means study it. However, I’m not sure if a study for it was included in ST3 like was the case for North Lake Washington, Burien and Renton (I believe Renton made it).

      9. When I brought up that the densest neighborhood on the Eastside (Crossroads), didn’t get light rail, many commenters dismissively responded there’s an East Link station a mile away from Crossroads, and residents can simply take a bus to the Link station.

        Yet, when the subject of Ballard comes up, all of a sudden the “they can take a bus to the station” solution goes away. Why can’t Ballardites simply take a bus from 22nd to 14th?

        BTW, the future of Ballard isn ‘t in Old Ballard. Too many historical buildings that can’t be touched. The future growth of Ballard is the 15th corridor, from the canal north. Old Ballard is the sentimental heart of Ballard, but that’s no reason to location a light rail station there.

      10. ST won’t even acknowledge the Metro 8 concept exists. It’s not in the long-range plan unless you think the Madison line is it. (ST left the Madison line in the plan because it wasn’t sure whether Madison BRT would fully address it.)

        Sam: the larger and denser a village is, the more stations it needs and the more critical to get them close to the center. Crossroads lost because the biggest transit axis in the Eastside is next to it. I initially thought it should make an L through Crossroads, but as I see the potential for a Bellevue-SpringDistrict-Overlake-Redmond corridor and the fact it’s a straight line between the Eastside’s largest cities, I think ST made the right choice. Bellevue is not interested in upzoning Crossroads or 8th between 124th and 156th that much. Swedish Cherry Hill alone probably has as many people as Crossroads, and First Hill, and First Hill has an enormous number of people and businesses and 24-hour job shifts. Harborview draws nurses from all over Puget Sound and even Bellingham and Central Washington.

      11. I’ll just point out that the distance from the Columbia City Link station and the historic commercial district there is about 1800 feet, and that 14th/Market to 20th/Market is about the same. I hear you Sam; I don’t get why getting to one/two-story Historic Ballard is so important to reasonable people. If anything, a giant 10-year, one-block hole for a Ballard Subway Station at 17th or 20th would be terribly disruptive. Keeping quaint historic commercial districts is actually easier if there is at least a 500 or 1000 feet from a station entrance because there will be less temptation to upzone them and they won’t have a decade of station construction around them.

        I will say that 15th Avenue is like a giant wall that has to be addressed if 14th Avenue is chosen. Rather than obsess about platforms, perhaps we need to focus more on conflict-free pedestrian connectivity for riders. The wait and hassle to cross 15th Avenue traffic is easily the same as a 300-400 foot walk.

      12. The Columbia City station is also in a bad location but it’s less critical because Columbia City is much smaller. Ballard has a lot more retail/business jobs, and a hospital, and bars where hundreds of people go and shouldn’t be driving home. From Columbia City station you walk three blocks and the entire business district is at your fingertips. From 14th you walk three blocks and you’re only at 15th at the edge of the village.

        Construction disruption is a concern, but we’re talking about decades of people having a short walk to the bulk of the Ballard village or not. Every block east of 17th you site the station, you lose a marginal number of people who will drive instead, won’t go to Ballard, or curse ST every time they walk or take a bus to the station. By 14th if becomes significant, and there’s not nearly enough east of 14th to make up even a fraction of it.

      13. Mike, 15th ave nw is Ballard’s version of the Bel-Red corridor. You talk about straight lines. Old Ballard is a detour and a line to nowhere. Up the hill is a dead end. It has to detour back to get back on that straight line.

        And again, the people of Old Ballard, like the people of Crossroads, can take a bus to get to the Link station a mile east.

      14. Sure would be nice to have a safe multi-use trail along South Shilshole.

        I walk from the D line to Old Ballard or take the 44. It’s not really an issue along Market but I’d like more options like a safer route along Shilshole. Cycling is how I mostly get around Ballard. If I were to take light rail, I’d also need my cycle to make it to most destinations around here.

        Too bad your blog and other transit folks seem to like Dan Strauss. He appears to be backing big Ballard businesses and labor unions who don’t care about the transit needs of Ballard residents. They only care about free parking for their employees and driving to Ballard. I’m sure they’ll have fun opposing light rail to Ballard. Just wait and see.

      15. If one were to rank urban centers/high value rail locations what would they be. My attempt at ranking the relevance of each. (Ballard arguably not in the top 10)

        1) Downtown Seattle (by far #1)
        2) UW (huge employer and student destination)
        3) Bellevue-Redmond (tech sector and large population centers)
        4) SeaTac (every population center wants access)
        5) Capitol Hill (could be some argument here but has Link numbers to back up)
        6) First Hill (was relegated to street cars)
        7) Tacoma (States 3rd largest city deserves access to major airport)
        8) Everett – Paine Field (Major destination for states largest employer)
        9) West Seattle-Burien (major urban corridor – population 90,000 and with proximity to city)
        10) Bothell (major UW branch at the nexus of major transportation corridors with populations exceeding 100,000)
        11) Ballard – Fremont (major urban districts – 40,000 combined population)
        12) Northgate – (major transportation nexus)
        13) Lynnwood and Federal Way tie (major employee contributors)
        15) Renton – (major employment center)

      16. I couldn’t resist replying to Les’s ranking.

        1. Downtown: of course.
        2. U-District: of course.
        3. Bellevue-Redmond: OK.

        4. FIRST HILL: Has tons of jobs, residents, elderly residents, highrises, hospitals, and 24-hour shifts. Somehow this is invisible. First Hill is the neighborhood that’s most like New York, and should have proportional transit to go with it.

        5. CAPITOL HILL. Its high Link ridership proves it.

        6. SEATAC. People from everywhere go to it, and hundreds of people get on/off a single flight at once, and workers come almost 24 hours from a wide area. There’s significant potential attract more people from cars/taxis if the overall transit network improves and gets better priority.

        7. NORTHGATE: Seattle’s third urban center. This partly depends on whether the city allows it to grow to its potential. Zoning outside the mall lot is overly restrictive.
        8. BALLARD-FREMONT: The next-largest urban village, with a proven history of high ridership and walking.
        9. LAKE CITY: The next largest after Ballard. It has much potential if the city reforms the zoning. It already has a lot of apartments.

        10. LYNNWOOD: If the city seriously converts it to a mini-Bellevue with highrises. It has done well in zoning the Swift Blue station areas and full BAT lanes on 99. Its central location between Seattle, Everett, and Bellevue makes it a natural transit hub. Link’s double-frequency and 405 Stride give it great potential. And it can support truncated express service from Everett and Marysville.

        11. West Seattle.
        12. Federal Way.
        13. Renton.
        14. Burien.
        15. Everett.
        16. TACOMA. It’s just so far from Seattle it’s straining to be part of the same job market. What Pierce County needs is a good Pierce County circulation system, with good connections to an improved South King County network. Link will serve only one tiny edge of Pierce, the way UW Station serves a tiny edge of North Seattle. Tacoma Link shows the right kinds of areas that need connecting, but it’s not fast/frequent enough and doesn’t address south Tacoma (Lakewood), east Tacoma (Puyallup Ave area), southeast Tacoma (Pacific Ave area) or Puyallup at all. In other words, what Pierce County needs is a heavily beefed up Pierce Transit and voters who will vote for it.

      17. And Lynnwood’s proximity to North Seattle. That will be the sleeper hit when Lynnwood Link starts. We focus on 28 minutes to Westlake, but it’s also 15 minutes to Northgate and 20 minutes to the U-District, with good transfers to Ballard and northeast Seattle. Those are significant latent trip pairs that people currently drive because no reasonable transit options exist.

      18. Les, could you explicitly describe what you think the main purpose/goals of a transit system is, and how that relates to the trips you’d prioritize. I think I have a fundamentally different view than you (and I suspect a number of other STB readers do as well).

        To me, I support more transit for two (related) reasons: transit makes city life possible and it fights climate change. In designing a transit system, we should be aiming to eliminate as many car trips as possible. Transit should make it possible for more people to live entirely without a car.

        Transit should maximize mobility and serve not just special occasions (airport trips, sporting events, downtown tourism), or commuting to work/college, but all the other trips people make every day and week- getting kids to school/daycare,grocery shopping, other shopping, going out to eat, going to visit friends and family, going out to bars/coffeeshops/theatres/clubs/concerts, going to parks, getting medical care, etc.

        To me, we do that by focusing transit development on trips within areas that are fairly urban in form- reasonably dense, walkable, with some combination of mixed-use and multi-family land use. Some of this will be through increased bus service and bus lanes, but some of it would benefit from building out a subway. It’s why me (and probably others here) are excited by the prospect of Metro 8 or Metro 44 subway lines, but are skeptical of the value of completing the spine to Tacoma or Everett, running rail to Issaquah, or West Seattle Link

      19. The whole point of my list was to get discussion going and see what people think about what people consider as transportation priorities for Link. No need to freak out.
        Also, I think transportation corridor importance should be included in urban village significance.

        1,2,3,5 Are same.

        FH 4 YOU 6 ME
        My biased against FH was because of the rejection by ST for Link station back in the day. But, yes, if it would have gotten a station it would probably be exceeding Capital Hill’s numbers.

        SEATAC 6 YOU 4 ME
        I have it a little higher because of what I said in FH comments and because it has tremendous value to all cities and not just Seattle; also it has tremendous transportation mileage value (will have impact on CO2 emissions). It will interesting to see its station numbers when the other Links open.

        Northgate 7 YOU 12 ME Exactly, will the city allow it to grow. A lot of hypotheticals with it. Also, Lake City and Aurora lines would take a lot of pressure off it and diminish its value.

        8 Ballard-Fremont 8 YOU 11 ME
        This goes to priorities and populations.
        Is your priority taking people for shorter distance, those that already bike, walk and bus, or do you want to go for the distant crowds that are having bigger CO2 and congestion impact on the city. Again, definitions could be refined here.

        Lake City 9 YOU 10 ME I was referring to Bothel – Lake City Way as a transportation corridor as well as urban center. Probably should refine definitions here. Again, I think transportation corridor importance should be included in urban village significance.

        Lynnwood YOU 10 ME 13
        A big hypothetical. But I can see it being higher.

        West Seattle YOU 11 ME 9
        I had WS combined with Burien, again a nice size population address CO2 with and a long busy transportation corridor.

        Tacoma YOU 16 ME 7
        Probably our biggest discrepancy. With new Tacoma Link lines I can see huge developments occurring within the city. The more people become dependent on the Tacoma system I can see demand for Seattle Link shooting up for SeaTac and places north. But I can see I’m overly optimistic. But will less people use it than Federal Way or Everett? I doubt that.

        Others, not much difference when factors for ordering above considered.

      20. I have to agree with Sam about historical Ballard. It won’t last if a station at 17th or 20th and Market is built. Oh, the facades may be “kept” but instead of a vibrant tree-lined street there will be ten-story buildings all along Ballard Avenue NW.

        The strip between 17th and 8th from Salmon Bay up to 60th is a “natural” for high-density redevelopment. The breweries can move into the first floor of the new buildings; they aren’t historical gems but mostly concrete block things. Development will enhance this neighborhood.

      21. I also agree with Al that if a station is at 15th in one of the eastern quadrants or anywhere on 14th, there must be at least one grade separated pedestrian crossing of 15th. Ideally it would be at Market and include a crossing of Market to the west of 15th so that people from either the NW or SW quadrant have access to the Link station.

        From the initial station design documents, ST has realized that it simply can’t roof-over the 15th and Market intersection and serve all four quadrants directly. The conceptual design shows the station in the SE quadrant a half block south of Market. If it’s there and has a mezzanine (it should), then there should also be a crossing of 15th at the south end of the station, near 53rd. That would serve Old Ballard very well.

        A station at 14th can and should span Market. The 15th crossing should then be from the NE to NW corners. With a straddle station there could be two crossings, one at 56th and one at 53rd or 54th. That would knit the entire neighborhood together very nicely.

      22. Should have included this…

        A straddle station at 14th makes bus operations a breeze. Lines either continue straight on Market or 14th for “through” routes or make multiple right turns for terminating routes. With north-south lines operating either to the east or the west of 14th this works perfectly. Routes to the west have to make a left turn onto Market, but they have to do the same for a 15th location as well. Ideally 53rd would be improved from 8th NW to 14th for buses approaching from that direction.

        Fourteenth has ample room for bus layover which is a good argument for it. Fifteenth has none.

        To serve the Ballard “triangle” about which Ross is rightly concerned, I’d have the C extend down to Leary then fishhook back into downtown Ballard, hot looping at the 32nd Avenue terminal of the 44. The 40 (RR H?) would deviate to 14th and Market then south to its current route on Leary. This would give Leary and Market very frequent service to the north, albeit on both sides of the street.

    3. Why would you extend the Bothell line to Lynnwood but not “fill in the gap” between Bothell or Woodinville and Kirkland for SnoHoCo to Bellevue trips?

  1. I not very enthused about more Burien-Renton connectivity. There is RapidRide F and a future 405 STRide (BRT) already. Meanwhile Routes 101+102 carry more average weekday riders than the entirety of RapidRide F today. A direct rail line northwest (SR 900) into Seattle to a new BAR Station (with a Duwamish bypass to get by MLK limitations) would not only offer a fast connection to Seattle, but would provide a single transfer to Bellevue and Redmond. It would also be much cheaper then trying to build and mitigate a 405 light rail line from Renton to Factoria.

    Bonus benefits: A second line in the future second tunnel would ease core system crowding on that tunnel in Downtown as well as allow for two branches north of SLU.

    1. RapidRide F’s ridership is lackluster, and most of it is around Southcenter, and dwindles to very few in Renton and hardly any in The Landing off-peak. Part of that is the time-consuming twists it takes to serve the Sounder station. The Sounder station should have a separate route only when Sounder is running. Metro folded it into the F to avoid the cost of a second route, but that’s the same thing ST did when it chose a hybrid Link rather than a two-level rail network: it serves each market less effectively and fails to maximize ridership. 405 Stride will bring much better regional service to Renton, and we’ll see if Renton steps up with ridership. A short line from BAR is too short, although it could be part of a long-term BAR-Bellevue line. That would conveniently put it all in East King, which could afford it better. A line to Renton can never be faster than the 101 unless it takes the Georgetown bypass. That’s probably why Metro intends to keep the 101 forever.

      1. Two comments:

        I blame RapidRide F’s lackluster ridership to it not serving the right corridor. Although it is a bit circuitous, the bus moves pretty fast. I don’t see a light rail equivalent being that much more beneficial.

        A BAR to Renton rail line is not any shorter than a BAR to Renton bus line. Not every rail line has to be 15+ miles long. Further, that line could easily be extended either north towards the Landing or NE 44th or Bellevue or south along/ near 167 to Kent.

        I will admit that the corridor lacks density. With Renton Airport nearby, I see real problems ever building anything tall in Downtown Renton.

        I’d like to see a RapidRide line between Bellevue and BAR (or Rainier Beach until BAR opens) via Renton Landing and Downtown Renton as well as Factoria. It would seem to be a reasonable test for a future real line.

      2. Renton airport doesn’t get out regulations strictly on building heights. The city says they can build as tall as Bellevue with FAA approvals. But, the city is going to limit it to 20 stories to make hillside views better and follow the master plan.

      3. Renton is a generally terrible place to visit by transit, and the F-line isn’t doing much to help improve it. The route is just too circuitous.

        The problem with Renton, is that the way the street grid works, the largest destinations really aren’t “on the way” in a manner that can be served with one line, without twists and turns. It is possible to have a straight bus route down 405, but only by bypassing Renton completely. It is also possible to have a straight bus route down Southcenter Blvd./Grady Way, but only by bypassing Southcenter Mall and the Boeing buildings south of 405.

        About the only way I can think of to serve all the places the F-line serves, without the twists, turns, and interminable stoplights, are elevated light rail and elevated busway. Ignoring financial constraints, I think the best solution would be an elevated busway that serves most of the places the F-line goes with gentle curves, featuring direct-access ramps to 405 both in Tukwila and up by the landing. The STRIDE bus would be routed onto this, and continue onto Bellevue.

        Of course, the costs of building such a thing would be very high, and the ridership would never justify it because it’s Renton, everybody drives, and most people there live in the sprawl south or east of 405, which is almost impossible to serve with transit in any kind of meaningful way.

        In the real world, I’m tempted to just write Renton off as something for buses to drive past as quickly as possible, leaving it with its half-hourly milk runs, so they at least have some service. The F-line should never have been created as a RapidRide route to begin with – it should have just been a regular Metro route at half-hourly frequency, with RapidRide done somewhere else.

      4. All you said is wrong.

        1. Renton is more significant than you think, look at the borders.

        2. Who cares if it is expensive? It’s still smarter than wasting it on Issaquah and Woodinville.

        3. Renton has three times the population as Issaquah, and home prices and median salary are going up… Particularly in the nearby hills.

        4. Renton has way more jobs than Issaquah (even more tech jobs… And more are coming). Does Woodinville even have any? I guess not, and it isn’t also a popular destination. Its a cheap suburb off Redmond/Kirkland.

  2. Let’s say that Democrats win the presidency as well as both houses of Congress in 2020 and move forward on a Green New Deal and infrastructure spending. If there is a surge of federal funding for transit, what can the city of Seattle, the suburbs, Metro, Sound Transit, and the Washington states government do to expedite building out bus service and light rail lines?

    1. Nothing, because the timescale it would take to plan and build a rail line is more than long enough for the Republicans to gain control and cancel it. We shouldn’t be depending on the federal government to find out transit system.

    2. Operating money is quicker than capital money. Capital projects have to be designed and environmentally cleared. Plus, there is a huge transit infrastructure backlog, so repair is going to need to be where transportation money goes. Repairing existing rail lines to keep trains running will be more critical than building new lines.

      Besides, the Republican tax cuts for extremely wealthy people has ballooned our deficit in a full employment economy. When unemployment inevitably rises and income tax receipts drop, we will be paying more for interest than for our government. We will be facing a situation where the intent is there but not the money. Trump and the Republicans gave away meth (money) to the extremely wealthy and they’re hooked, and will try every underhanded way they can to keep their supply like a junkie.

    3. There is no lack of money because the US has its own currency. The tax cuts can be reversed and the deficit will shrink as fast as it expanded. The rest of the world would applaud if we spent a few trillion dollars investing in sensible infrastructure and social programs as they themselves have done.

      There are two scenarios, a short 2021-2024 window and a long-term national mobilization. A short window could only fund projects that are shovel-ready or close to shovel-ready. We have a lot of those; it’s just they’re the boring old ST2 and CCC and Metro Connects rather than shiny new things. For ST3, the most sensible thing would be to accelerate DSTT2 design and get Link to SLU as soon as possible.

      What a longer-term “green new deal” would be is extremely vague. It took Congress a year to define and enact Obamacare, and that was a straightforward “increase coverage and reduce out-of-pocket costs”. If major long-term transit grants appear, we can decide how to use them then. There would be the usual disagreements between maximalist “build all the things”, minimalists arguing for a Seattle-centric approach, and suburbanists arguing to spread it out evenly.

      The best way to prepare for any increase in grants is to have shovel-ready projects. We have a lot of them, and the planned RapidRide lines could be designed pretty quickly.

    4. Any long-term grant stream would have to complete ST3 first because that’s what the region agreed to, and changing it to anything else would be an even bigger lift than it was the first time.

      However, if the grants had restrictions favoring inner-ring density and disfavoring sprawl, then Seattle might find itself at an advantage. And Pierce and Snohomish and Issaquah would be on the defensive explaining why they’re not sprawl and what they’ll do to make their cities more compact (and not just a token neighborhood but the entire city).

  3. I live in Seattle’s District 4, and I wish we had ranked choice voting for this city council race. We have 3 candidates who I’d be happy to have on the city council (and 1 candidate who I don’t want on the council), but I can only indicate my support for one person.

  4. It’s looking fairly awful in the first ballot drop. Pedersen is almost elected.

    1. The primary of an off-year election is going to be the most demographically favorable for Pedersen. I don’t think we should infer too much his performance yet- though I would feel better about it if his total drops below 40% when all the votes are counted.

      Assuming the current percentages roughly hold, the D4 general election result will depend both on turnout among younger/less wealthy voters and if Scott can pick up most Tuttle/Myers voters. Pedersen seems to trying to signal to homeowners/drivers that he’s their guy, while also seeking to come across as a reasonably liberal technocrat to everyone else. On the issues and general outlook, Tuttle and Myers voters should go towards Scott, but it will be revealing to see if enough people are comfortable with a young, black socialist. (I hope they are)

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